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Lionel Messi wins his 6th Ballon d’or trophy as rival Cristiano Ronaldo snub the award event

And he’s done it, Lionel Messi has won it for a sixth time!

Drogba momentarily turned into a (terrible) comedian and tried to keep the room waiting, to a smattering of boos, before announcing Messi.

Applause then pours out across the plush venue, as Messi breaks into a smile.

He has more ballon d’Ors then anybody else in football history, and at 32 is showing no signs of slowing down.

The Argentine, who attended with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and his two sons Thiago and Mateo, went into the evening in Paris level with Ronaldo on five Ballon d’Or awards but now stands alone with six.

He had all of his sixth golden balls on stage with him and Messi could not contain his joy as he posed for photographs with each of them.   

‘I would like to thank all the journalists that have voted for me, that wanted me to have this prize,’ Messi said. ‘Of course thank you so much to my team-mates that have actually contributed a lot for this prize. It’s really amazing, thank you so much.

‘Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d’Or in Paris at 22 years old, guided by my three brother. Today I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children.’

He had all of his sixth golden balls on stage with him and Messi could not contain his joy as he posed for photographs with each of them.

The 32-year-old is standing alone in the all-time list with six, his first Ballon d’Or since 2015.

Messi edged out Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk who was unlucky not to win the award after lifting the Champions League, the Super Cup and UEFA’s Player of the Year award.

The 32-year-old was an overwhelming favourite with bookmakers after a leaked document appeared to crown Messi as the recipient of the award in the hours prior to the ceremony.

It was the first time since 2015 that Messi lifted the award with Ronaldo (twice) and his then Real Madrid team-mate Luka Modric winning the following three years.

Despite stuttering in the Champions League, playing a part in that famous collapse at Anfield against eventual winners Liverpool, Messi produced another year full of important contributions as Barcelona lifted the La Liga title.

The Argentine attacker hit 51 goals in 50 appearances in 2018-19, taking the award for top scorer in Spain in the process.

Messi’s bitter rival, Ronaldo, chose not to attend the latest Ballon d’Or awards ceremony and instead went to an evening in Milan to celebrate the best of Italian football.

His Juventus team-mate Matthijs de Ligt was in Paris represented the Italian champions as he was crowned Under-21 Player of the Year, edging out Jadon Sancho and Joao Felix.

Liverpool, after winning the Champions League against Tottenham in Madrid on June 1, boasted more players in the top 10 than any other side, with four players finishing in the top seven.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker came seventh – but won the new Yachine trophy for Goalkeeper of the Year – Mohamed Salah came fifth, Sadio Mane came fourth and Van Dijk finished as runner-up, capping off a fine year both individually and as a team.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe, last season’s Best U21 Player, was sixth and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski was eighth. They were the only two players aside from Messi and Ronaldo to finish in the top and not be playing in the Premier League.

Last season’s English champions Manchester City had Portuguese midfielder Bernardo Silva as their highest ranking player, finishing ninth ahead of team-mate Riyad Mahrez.

In the female category American star Megan Rapinoe wins as other nominees Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan both nominated in 2nd and 3rd position respectively.

She was absent but gave her speech on screen I am conscious of my age and I enjoy these moments much more because the moment of my retirement gets closer and it’s difficult but I repeat that I think I’ve got a few years left. But right now it seems that time flies, everything goes very quickly. But I just want to keep enjoying my football and my family, the rivals and my life.’

Trail blazer Megan Rapinoe completed a clean sweep of individual accolades after becoming only the second female player in the competition’s 64 year history to see her name etched on the Ballon d’Or trophy.  

England right back Lucy Bronze, part of a six-player strong Lyon contingent on the shortlist, followed closely in second place. 

US co-captain Rapinoe however, was nowhere to be seen instead sending a pre-recorded acceptance speech telling fans she was ‘so sad and sorry I can’t make it’ before thanking team-mates, coaches and the federation for their ‘support’ – despite the USWNT’s ongoing equal-pay battle.

The striker led her homeland to a record fourth World Cup trophy this summer, picking up the Golden Boot as the top-scorer and scooping the Golden Ball for the tournament best player. 

The 34-year-old striker added the FIFA’s Best Women’s Player award to her collection in September in what has been a remarkable year for the self-confessed ‘walking protest’.  The win will only enhance Rapinoe’s warrior-like reputation, having already been vocal about equality, politics and President Donald Trump. 

BALLON D’OR 2019 RANKINGS

1 = Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2 = Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

3 = Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

4 = Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

5 = Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

6 = Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

7 = Alisson (Liverpool)

8 = Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

9 = Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

10 = Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

11 = Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)

12 = Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

13 = Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

14 = Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

15 = Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)

16 = Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

17 = Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

18 = Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

19 = Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

20 = Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

20 = Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

22 = Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

23 = Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

24 = Marc Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

24 = Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

26 = Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

26 = Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

28 = Donny van der Beek (Ajax)

28 = Marquinhos (PSG)

28 = Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

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