Lionel Messi won his record sixth FIFA Player of the Year award for 2019, beating out Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I want to thank those who decided to give me this recognition,” said Messi.
“The most important thing for me is the collective awards, but today is also a very special night for me.”
He also added, “It has been a long time without winning an individual prize. It is good to have this award.”
Messi has had a good deal to celebrate this year. The 32-year-old was awarded the European golden boot for hitting 54 goals across 58 matches and won the Spanish La Liga title with Barcelona last season as well.
Messi’s win came as a surprise to many as a majority of football fans were expecting Liverpool’s Van Dijk to take home the award as he was instrumental in transforming Liverpool’s solid defence on the road to the Champions League finals.
Along with Messi, USA’s co-captain Megan Rapinoe won the women’s top award for leading her country to victory at the World Cup this year.
She took the stage to speak on being a part of the World Cup. “This was an incredible year for women’s football, for those who just noticed you are a bit late to the party. It truly was incredible, to be part of the World Cup, the enthusiasm we had was amazing,” she said.
(Header Credit – FIFA Instagram)