Lionel Messi has been reaffirmed as the best footballer in the world after he won the Ballon d'Or on Monday evening. This is his sixth Ballon d'Or, but the first since 2015. Messi has eclipsed Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo in the total count of the awards.
Messi has previously won the title in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.
After receiving the award, Messi said, "I want to thank all of the journalists who voted for me, as well as all of my teammates at Barça and on the Argentinean national team, as they made me enjoy this year so much. You are all part of this incredible award. Ten years ago I won my first Ballon d'Or, at the age of 22. What was happening was unthinkable. Today I receive my sixth, in a moment that is completely different and very special on a personal level, with my wife, three sons, brothers and nephew. I still have the desire to continue growing and improving every day, enjoying football like I have been since the age of 1 or 2 years old. I don't need individual awards to continue chasing the collective objectives that we have. I hope to continue enjoying many more years of football and my family."
Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk was second on the list, whereas Ronaldo came third. The result means that for the past 11 years, the award has been won by a player from La Liga, the premier Spanish division. Premier League side and UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool had four players in the top 10 - van Dijk (2), Sadio Mane (4), Mohamed Salah (5), and Alisson (7). Premier League Champions Manchester City had two players - Bernardo Silva (9), Riyad Mahrez (10) in the top 10, and a total of five players in the top 20.
Alisson Becker won the best goalkeeper award, whereas Matthijs de Ligt won the Kopa Award and was honoured as the Best young player.
(With inputs from agencies)