Lionel Messi outclassed Virgil van Dijk and arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo to claim his record sixth Ballon d'Or award on Monday. Messi clinched the coveted trophy by a margin of seven points to Liverpool star defender Van Dijk in a ceremony in Paris. Messi biggest nemesis for past decade Ronaldo settled for the third spot in the list of top players of 2019 by France magazine, who organize Ballon d'Or ceremony.
Messi became the first player to win six Ballon d'Or golden ball, however, he feels that it is a "shame" that Liverpool forward Sadio Mane did not finish higher than fourth in the rankings.
"It's a shame to see Mane finish in fourth place," Messi told Canal+.
The Barcelona maestro also voted for Sadio Mane at the top in the FIFA Best awards earlier, in September, this year.
"But I think there have been a lot of great players this year. That's why it was difficult to choose a particular player. But I chose Sadio Mane because he's a player that I like," said Messi.
"Mane achieved a great year that was exceptional for the entire Liverpool team. That's why I chose him. I repeat, there were a lot of very great players this year, so the choice was difficult," added the Barcelona talisman.
Mane was the pillar of Liverpool's UEFA Champions League-winning campaign last season alongside Mohamed Salah and Van Dijk. In 2019 Mane has scored 28 goals for Liverpool in 45 games, most by a Liverpool player.