Megan Rapinoe is seen on the screen after she awarded as the best female soccer player during the Golden Ball award ceremony at the Grand Palais in Paris, Monday. Photo: AP/Francois Mori
soccer

Messi, Rapinoe win Ballon d’Or awards

12 Comments

Lionel Messi won a record sixth Ballon d’Or while U.S. World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe earned the women’s prize on Monday.

A day after scoring his 614th career goal for Barcelona, Messi reclaimed the trophy he last won in 2015.

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

Messi’s and Ronaldo’s 10-year grip on the prestigious individual award organized 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. Messi scored 36 times last season en route to the Spanish Liga title, and was the Champions League top scorer.

The Argentine has not showed any sign of slowing down since the start of the new European season, marking his 700th game for Barcelona last week with a goal and two assists in beating Borussia Dortmund 3-1.

Van Dijk clinched the 2019 Champions League crown with the Reds after defeating Messi’s Barcelona in the semifinals 4-3 on aggregate, included a 4-0 win at Anfield in the return match.

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.

The Liverpool center back was among seven teammates nominated, along with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Rapinoe won the women’s Ballon d’Or for leading the United States to World Cup glory in July.

She scored six goals in the championship, earning her the Golden Boot as the top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player.

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 this time.

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 Liverpool’s Alisson.

© Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


12 Comments
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Rapinoe won the World Cup and the Ballon d’Or

She's accomplished her side and can say whatever she wants now

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah italians have had some great defenders. 1982 was my first wc and i still remember guys like tardelli, cabrini or gentile (and paolo rossi obviously).

Dunno how these guys would cope with today's pace & physicality though (was a poor man's bale, played 3, 6 and 11 in my teens. Old school 4-5 are a must even in today's game, no one wants a fluffy/dodgy centre half).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gotta say as much as I loved baresi, maldini and co I prefer modern attacking defenders

Nah, too frilly.

I played centre-half as a kid. I remember my manager showing me videos of Claudio Gentile and I later watched Baresi,

Defenders with brilliant positional sense and a streak of pure malevolence. Brilliant to watch.

I always remember a great description of Gentile as ‘a proper hairy arse’.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gotta say as much as I loved baresi, maldini and co I prefer modern attacking defenders usually 2-3 a la Mendy, A-A even trippier or Doherty (great for FPL!) or Bale 8-10 years ago.

Van Dijk's great though.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Am I right in saying Maldini, Baresi. Cafu, Desailly, Thuram, Roberto Carlos, Puyol, Hummels and other great defenders never won it?

Yeah, I can only think of Beckenbauer and Cannavaro who have won it. Stanley Matthews won the first ever Ballon in the 50's, playing for the mighty Blackpool.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Congratulations to Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They don’t often give it to defenders. Am I right in saying Maldini, Baresi. Cafu, Desailly, Thuram, Roberto Carlos, Puyol, Hummels and other great defenders never won it?

Van Dijk for me.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Megan Rapinoe was a good choice. Earned and deserved.

But Messi no. Did they forget we (Liverpool) kicked the pants of him and there many better Liverpool players.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Reckon Liverpool were in some way victim of their success, just too many very good players to choose from.

Messi got all the la liga pundits votes, cr7 calcio's and other votes were spread among Liverpool & city guys. Mane would have gotten my vote, great domestic/euro season, great African nations cup, can't top that. Messi's the safe vote, always will be.

What I don't really get though is that they gave it to Rapinoe; apparently she only played 6 league games (no goals nor assist) and a dozen games with the us ( ok she won the wc) whereas the English girl who finished 2nd -forgot her name- played 40-50 games for club & country and won pretty much everything & was wc finalist.

Not very consistent.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

@Tigers, THIEFA aren't involved in it anymore. It is run by a French footie mag, voted on by journalists from about 180 countries.

If Liverpool had won their league I think Van Dijk would have won it. Here is the top 10. Only one Brazilian in there, and he's a keeper. The only player that can challenge Messi thesedays is Neymar, but he is too busy being a dick. Not sure how Mahrez sneaked in there at no. 10!

Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina)

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool and Netherlands)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus and Portugal)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool and Senegal)

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool and Egypt)

Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain and France)

Alisson (Liverpool and Brazil)

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland)

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City and Portugal)

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City and Algeria)
4 ( +4 / -0 )

A rubbish decision for the men's award. Did FIFA forget that Van Dijk's Liverpool knocked Messi's Barcelona out on their way to winning the Champions League?

Every year it's Messi and Ronaldo and this was an opportunity to award it to someone else who deserved it.

Since arriving at Liverpool Van Dijk has turned them into Champions League winners and likely English champions this season.

Messi only produces in La Liga and has never produced it for his country.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A bit disappointed Virgil didn't get it, seems like journos can only see Messi & La Liga when it comes to the vote. Then again, Messi is still undoubtedly the best player on the planet

A day after scoring his 614th career goal for Barcelona,

614 goals, quite astonishing

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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