Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 30 September 2020 3.01 PM IST

Lionel Messi breaks record and wins 2019 Ballon D'Or; Rapinoe bags women's prize


PARIS: FC Barcelona and Argentina legend Lionel Messi won the 2019 Ballon D’Or surpassing the competition from Liverpool and Netherlands defender Virgil Van Dijk. This is the sixth Ballon D’Or won by Messi-most by any player in history.

Megan Rapinoe won the second women's Ballon D'Or, rounding off a brilliant year after winning several individual honours as well as the World Cup. England and Lyon player Lucy Bronze came at second and US and Orlando Pride player Alex Morgan came at the third position.

The suspense surrounds the identity of the men's winner, 12 months after Croatia's Luka Modric claimed the crown thanks to his exploits in dragging his country to the World Cup final and winning the Champions League with Real Madrid.

That ended a decade in which Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had won the Ballon d'Or five times each, but the smart money now is on the Barcelona man claiming number six.

There were 30 nominees in total for the prize, organised by France Football magazine and voted for by 180 journalists from around the world.

Among the names were Ronaldo, who was not present for the gala, as well as several of the stars of the Liverpool side who won the Champions League, with Van Dijk tipped as their star man for the coveted prize. At one point Van Dijk looked like the favourite, but Messi already pipped him to FIFA's The Best title in September.

The 32-year-old top-scored in La Liga last season with 36 goals as Barcelona won the title. He had an incredible individual season as he won the European Golden Shoe for a record sixth time and also the IFFHS Best Playmaker Award.

Megan Rapinoe won the second women's Ballon d'Or, an award voted for by a panel of 48 journalists. But, she didn’t make it to Paris for the ceremony.

Norway's Ada Hegerberg won it in 2018 but will not retain her title after missing the World Cup.

Among the stars of that tournament to be nominated are England's Lucy Bronze, Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema, Australia's Sam Kerr and the USA trio of Alex Morgan, Rose Lavelle and Tobin Heath.

Rapinoe, the 34-year-old feminist icon added this honour to those of Golden Boot winner for top scorer and Golden Ball for best player at the World Cup.

The new Juventus signing and Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt won the Kopa Trophy for the best performing player under the age of 21 after a remarkable season for his former club Ajax.

Liverpool and Brazil goalkeeper Allison Becker won the first ever Yachine Trophy, an award named after Lev Yachine-the legendary keeper who won the Ballon D’Or in 1963-the only goal keeper to have won so.

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