“It is 10 years since I won my first Ballon Do’r here in Paris and I remember coming here with my three brothers, I was 22 and it was all unthinkable for me what I was going through.
“Now ten years on, this is my sixth, in a very different time, very special in my personal life with my wife and three children. I am aware of the age I have but I hope I have several years left to keep enjoying my football and doing this.
“As my wife said, you must never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy. I am very lucky, I am blessed.
“I would like to thank all the journalists who voted for me and wanted me to have this prize.
“Thank you so much to my colleagues who actually contributed a lot to this prize. It is amazing, thank you so much,” Messi said after winning his sixth Ballon D’or.
The 2019 Ballon D’or has come against the greatest odds since Messi didn’t win the champions league or any international trophy to better his chances of winning it. And he was contending with those who won. Though some football fans argue that the prize should be given to someone who has the champions league medal, Messi’s meritocracy is measured beyond the trophies won by his teams.
On Sunday night in Wando Metropolitano, Barcelona FC’s chance of staying on top of La Liga was minutes away from impossible when Lionel Messi did what he usually does; set up a chance and broke Atletico Madrid’s defense that had proved impregnable for the past 80 minutes. And Barcelona went home with all three points.
It was a classy display of salvage that was exciting but not surprising.
In the last 2018/19 season, Messi put up such displays in quantifying numbers that got Barcelona the league and champions league semi-finals.
Although Liverpool ended Barcelona’s campaign in champions league in a very sad way, overturning a 3-0 first leg lead to qualify for the final, his individual play assured that he made the final three alongside Virgil Van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo in the list of Ballon D’or nominees.
And on Monday night in Paris, Messi won the Ballon D’or for the sixth time in his professional career: A milestone that no other player has attained in the history of football.
Messi won the Ballon D’or in 2009, 2010, 2011 and in 2012, and in 2015, he got his 5th, before losing to his closest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo who held it until 2018, when Luca Modric usurped the duopoly between Messi and Ronaldo, and won the laurel for the first time.
So the 2019, voters looked at the numbers and voted. And when it comes to numbers, Messi is ahead of every other player this year with 54 appearances, 46 goals and 17 assists. He also has the most goals in Europe and Spain, most assists in the league, most points won for the team, most free-kick goals and most hat-tricks.
Messi won the golden boot and the European Best based on these numbers.
Other awards Messi has won this year are:
- UEFA Men’s Player of the Year
- The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year
- FIFA World Player of the Year
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year.
His closest rival in the competition, Virgil Van Dijk, even though he won the champions league with Liverpool and stood a great chance to clinch the honor, did not fail to give respect to whom it is due.
He said, “You need to respect greatness as well. I was close, but there was just someone a little bit better. I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and the Netherlands, and hopefully we can do that again this year. But that will be tough with those guys around here still.”
Virgil Van Dijk came second behind Messi, beating Cristiano Ronaldo to take the third position. The Liverpool duo, Sadio Mane and Mo Salah came fourth and fifth respectively.
Meanwhile, the Ballon D’or for women’s football was given to U.S soccer star, Megan Rapinoe. Her role in the 2019 Women’s World Cup ensured that the U.S took the cup home.