Lionel Messi beat Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to win his sixth Ballon d'Or in Paris on Monday. The Barcelona superstar has now won the most Ballon d'Or trophies in football history. Ronaldo has won five Ballon d'Ors -- one with Manchester United, and four with Real Madrid.
Messi and Ronaldo had been clinching the top honour in football every year between 2008 and 2017, until Real Madrid and Croatia's Luka Modric broke their streak last year. Modric won the title after leading Croatia to their first-ever World Cup final, and playing a significant role in Real Madrid's Champions League-winning campaign.
Messi, however, reclaimed the prize, winning the award for the first time since 2015 after a stellar season with Barcelona. The Argentina star scored 36 goals in La Liga as he led the side to the league title. He scored 51 goals in total in 50 appearances for the club.
His competitor, Virgil van Dijk had won the UEFA Player of the Year award. The Liverpool defender had been central to the side's successful campaign in the Champions League.
After Messi's win, the social media was full of former players and fans congratulating the Argentina star. Football greats David Beckham and Ronaldo (Brazil) wished Messi on his Instagram. "Congratulations my friend @leomessi," wrote Beckham, while Ronaldo said, "Congratulations."
Here's how Twitter wished him:
Leo Messi becomes the first player in history to win 6 Ballon d’Or awards, and he’s not done yet.
🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/MpWxGr2SaR— Team Messi (@TeamMessi) December 2, 2019
Messi wins his 6th Ballon d’Or. His numbers this year are once again truly extraordinary. He’s head and shoulders the best player in world football. He plays a game that is both joyous and incomprehensible to mere mortals. The award is totally meritorious. 👏🏻👏🏻— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) December 2, 2019
El Balon de Leo ⚽ pic.twitter.com/qlhStUcKtC— Antoine Griezmann (@AntoGriezmann) December 2, 2019