Lionel Messi has been awarded the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
At a star-studded ceremony in Paris on Monday evening, the FC Barcelona star was crowned the world’s best player for the first time since 2015 and on a record sixth occasion overall after seeing off strong competition from the likes of Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk.
Buzz had been growing for weeks that the Argentine was a cert for soccer’s highest individual accolade. Especially in Catalonia, where the autonomous province’s two main newspapers, Mundo Deportivo and SPORT, filled column inches with claims that the club and country captain had done enough to please the jury.
Messi was presented with the gong by 2018 winner Luka Modric and that means as well as this year, the Argentina international has also won the Ballon d’Or in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
Messi’s incredible career in numbers
|701 – appearances for Barcelona|
|614 – goals for Barcelona, including a record 428 in LaLiga.|
|91 – goals scored in 2012, breaking the calendar-year record set by German Gerd Muller in 1972.|
|52 – career hat-tricks; 46 for Barcelona, six for Argentina.|
|138 – caps for Argentina.|
|70 – goals for Argentina, his nation’s all-time leading scorer. That tally includes his two in the 2008 Olympics.|
|10 – La Liga titles with Barcelona.|
|4 – Champions League wins.|
|6 – times he has won the Ballon d’Or, as the world’s best player (in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and 2019).|
|2 – Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the only players to have won more than three Ballon d’Or awards.|
|34 – trophies won with Barca.|
|2008 – Olympic gold in Beijing is Messi’s only major honour with Argentina.|
|47 – seconds into his Argentina debut before he was sent off, against Hungary in 2005, aged 18, after coming on as a substitute.|
|67 – Messi’s height in inches (5ft 7in).|
|16 – Age at which Messi made his Barcelona first-team debut.|
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