Lionel Messi wins sixth Ballon d’Or, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo

The 32-year-old saw off competition from the likes of Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to win the prestigious accolade, which is voted for by journalists.

Messi won the award for the first time in 2009 but had not won it since 2015. The Barcelona forward now has one more title than arch rival Ronaldo.

Many had tipped Van Dijk to become the first defender in 13 years to win the coveted title, following in the footsteps of 2006 winner Fabio Cannavaro.

The Dutchman had already been crowned UEFA Player of the Year after winning the Champions League with Liverpool last season.

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Lionel Messi won a sixth Ballon d'Or trophy on Monday.

Magic Messi

Messi has maintained his ridiculously high levels over the last 12 months, becoming Europe’s top scorer for a third consecutive season and winning his 10th La Liga title with Barcelona.

He was also named The Best FIFA Men’s Player in September, once again beating Ronaldo to the title.

This season has started in familiar fashion with the magician scoring nine league goals for the Catalan club. He netted a superb late winner against title rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday and was called “infallible” by his manager Ernesto Valverde.

Last year, Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric became the first player other than Messi and Ronaldo to receive the award since 2007.