Lionel Andres Messi continues to prove his dominance over rivals in world football and showed why he is the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T) by winning his record 6th Ballon d'Or award on Monday.
Messi overtook his arch-rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, to become the first footballer to win the coveted Ballon d'Or trophy. In their decade long domination in world football, it was never a single occasion when the Portuguese managed to overtook to Barcelona maestro. It is always Messi who had an edge over him.
Meanwhile, this year it was not Ronaldo, who gave tough competition to Messi but it was a defender Virgil van Dijk, who had a glorious last season with Liverpool. Van Dijk was the prime contender alongside Messi to fight for the prize but the Argentine snatched the victory away from his pocket by just 7 points.
Here are the top five finalists of 2019 Ballon d'Or:
|Rank||Player||Country and Club(s)||Points|
|1||Lionel Messi||Argentina and Barcelona||686|
|2||Virgil van Dijk||Netherlands and Liverpool||679|
|3||Cristiano Ronaldo||Portugal and Juventus||476|
|4||Sadio Mane||Senegal and Liverpool||347|
|5||Mohamed Salah||Egypt and Liverpool||178|
Messi scored 51 goals in 50 games last season to clinch many big trophies in world football, which include European Golden Shoe, Pichichi Trophy, UEFA Forward of the Year Best FIFA Men's Player apart from his 6th Ballon d'Or.
The 32-year-old forward was the backbone of Barcelona last season in their La Liga-winning campaign. However, Messi couldn’t take his team to Champions League glory despite being the top scorer of the tournament with 12 goals. The 32-year-old forward was the backbone of Barcelona last season in their campaign. However, Messi couldn’t take his team to Champions League glory despite being the top scorer of the tournament with 12 goals. It was Van Dijk's Liverpool who broke Messi's dream of winning the Champions League for the fifth time.
The Dutchman was on fire last season as none of the footballers were able to go past him in both Premier League and UCL as he was treated as 'The Great Wall of Liverpool' entire season.
Liverpool raised their game in the previous season and Van Dijk was one of the prime reasons for their success alongside Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane.
But If anybody tends to question why Messi won the Ballon d'Or instead of Van Dijk, they must know that the coveted trophy is given to the player who had the best year individually and not the player who won more or big trophies with team. And on an individual basis, Messi performed way better than his contemporaries which even Van Dijk accepted when the Barcelona talisman won the award on Monday.
Van Dijk said, "Unfortunately there are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are unnatural, I think they are fantastic. Look, six times the Ballon d’Or, we need to respect greatness as well. I was close but there was just someone a little bit better."
"I’m very proud of what I achieved last year with Liverpool and with Holland and hopefully we can do that again this year, but you know it’s going to be tough as long as these guys are around. My career has been different than let’s say the winner here," Van Dijk added.
With the sixth Ballon d'Or, Messi has settled the G.O.A.T debate for now but in the unpredictable game of football where a player like Cristiano Ronaldo plays, you never know when the table turns in someone else's favour.