FC Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been crowned the 2019 Ballon d’Or after beating off competition from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Leo Messi, nadie tiene tu colección.
— LaLiga (@LaLiga) December 2, 2019
Messi was revealed as the winner for a record sixth time during a lavish presentation in Paris on Monday night.
The award is Messi’s first since 2015 and he had to see off strong competition from Liverpool’s African duo of Mane and Salah.
Mane was named the best African player after he finished fourth, while his teammate from Egypt, Salah, followed him closely at fifth.
Completing the top five are their club-mate at the Reds, Virgil van Dijk, who was ranked second, and Messi’s fiercest rival, Cristiano Ronaldo who finished as the third-best.
“Thank you to my colleagues who have actually contributed a lot to this prize, ” Messi said after picking up his sixth award. “It is amazing, thank you so much.”
Ranked at the 4th place of the 2019 #ballondor ⤵️
Sadio Mané 🇸🇳@LFC
— #BallondOr (@francefootball) December 2, 2019
He scored 46 goals and provided 17 assists as Barcelona successfully defended their LaLiga crown last season, for a total of 63 goals contributed for club and country in the past 12 months.
The 2019 Ballon d’Or was handed to the Argetine by the 2018 winner, Luka Modric of Real Madrid, with Messi accompanied by his family.
Meanwhile, Mane and Salah were not the only Africans on the list as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kalidou Koulibaly and Riyad Mahrez also completed the top five African players in the world.
Mahrez was the next best ranked African player, after finishing 10th, while Aubameyang and Koulibaly were ranked 20th and 24th respectively.
Elsewhere, Megan Rapinoe of the USA was crowned the Women’s Ballon d’Or winner after seeing off competition from England’s Lucy Bronze and compatriot, Alex Morgan.
— Reign FC (@ReignFC) December 2, 2019
Rapinoe’s win comes after her crucial role in US winning the Women’s World Cup last summer when they saw off France in the finals with the enigmatic star going home with the Golden Boot and Ball.