Messi and Rapinoe win Ballon d'Or awards

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FRANCE SOCCER BALLON D'OR 2019

Lionel Messi is the only player to win the Ballon d'Or six times

Lionel Messi has won a record sixth Ballon d'Or while World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe earned the women's prize, beating out among others Australia's Sam Kerr.

A day after scoring his 614th career goal for Barcelona, Messi reclaimed the trophy he last won in 2015. He was also voted the world's best from 2009 to 2012.

"Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d'Or, guided by my three brothers," Messi told the audience in the Theatre du Chatelet on Monday.

"Today I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children."

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was second in the polling, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, who had shared the record of five Ballon d'Ors with Messi.

Senegal's Liverpool striker Sadio Mane was fourth in the poll of international journalists.

Two other Reds players polled in the top 10 after Champions League success, Egypt's Mohamed Salah (fifth) and goalkeeper Alisson Becker (seventh) of Brazil.

"It was amazing," van Dijk said. "There are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are fantastic.

"I'm proud of what I've achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It's going to be tough (to win the award) when these guys are around."

Messi's and Ronaldo's 10-year grip on the prestigious individual award organised by France Football magazine was ended last year by Luka Modric.

But Messi was back on top of his game over the past 12 months.

He scored 36 times last season en route to Barcelona winning the Spanish Liga title, and was the Champions League top scorer.

Messi also won his sixth FIFA award in September, edging van Dijk, who missed the chance to become the first defender to top the France Football poll since Italy's World Cup-winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro, in 2006.

Juventus defender Mattis De Light won the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 player and the inaugural Yashin Trophy given to the year's best men's goalkeeper went to Alisson.

Rapinoe won the women's Ballon d'Or for leading the United States to World Cup glory in July, with England international Lucy Bronze second and Alex Morgan third.

Six goals at the World Cup earned Rapinoe the Golden Boot as the top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player.

"It's absolutely incredible congrats to the other nominees. I can't believe I'm the one winning in this field, it's been an incredible year," Rapinoe, who was not present at the ceremony, said in a recorded message.

Kerr, who recently signed for Chelsea in England's Super League, was the golden boot in the US NWSL for a third successive season and she scored five times at the World Cup.

France Football magazine has been awarding the Ballon d'Or since 1956 and created a women's award for the first time last year when Norway's Ada Hegerberg won it. Hegerberg was fourth in 2019.

Ballon D'Or Men's Top 10

1. Lionel Messi, 2. Virgil van Dijk, 3. Cristiano Ronaldo, 4. Sadio Mane, 5. Mohamed Salah, 6. Kylian Mbappe, 7. Alisson, 8. Robert Lewandowski, 9. Bernardo Silva, 10. Riyad Mahrez.