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Messi wins record 6th Ballon d'Or
By thinkSPAIN Team Tue, Dec 3, 2019
Argentine ace Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Ballon d'Or. It is the sixth time he has walked away with football's most prestigious prize, breaking his five-title tie with Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Barça player, who was the bookies' favourite for the prize this year, beat Liverpool's Dutch midfielder Virgil van Dijk who came in second, Ronaldo, who had to make do with third and Liverpool's Senagalese forward Sadio Mané.
Messi, 32, received his first Ballon d'Or in 2009 and over the past decade has gone on to become the most celebrated player in football and perhaps the greatest to ever play the game.
"Ten years ago I won my first Ballon d'Or here in Paris. I was 22 years old and couldn't believe it. Ten years later I receive the prize again in a totally different moment in my life, with my wife and three children", said Messi after collecting the award voted for by 176 journalists from all over the world.
“As my wife says, it’s important to never stop dreaming and to always work to improve myself and continue to enjoy myself. I hope to continue to play for some time.
The Argentinian assured the audience that he was conscious of his age and recognised that retirement was creeping up on him. “I know I am very fortunate, even if, one day, I will have to retire. That will be difficult but I still have beautiful years in front of me.”
"Now it seems that time is passing very quickly. I hope to continue enjoying my football, my rivals, my family and everything that life brings my way", he said.
Messi thanked his team mates and said 2019 had been a "great year, beyond just winning or losing".
He had not won the award since 2015, losing out twice to Ronaldo and once to Croatia's Luka Modric, who had the honour of presenting him with the prize in the Châtelet Theatre in Paris on Monday night.
The Ballon d'Or has been won by either Messi or Ronaldo on 11 of the last 12 occasions.
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