Lionel Messi, the mercurial striker from Argentina, won his sixth Ballon d’Or award, one of the most prestigious global recognition for footballers.
The 32-year-old Barcelona forward was voted as the best by the journalists from among the top contenders like Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk.
Messi won the award for the first time in 2009. He again won in, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 to be the one to win it for most times. His arch rival Ronaldo has won it five times.
Messi has maintained his ridiculously high levels over the last 12 months, becoming Europe’s top scorer for a third consecutive season and winning his 10th La Liga title with Barcelona.
He was also named The Best FIFA Men’s Player in September, once again beating Ronaldo to the title.
“Today is my sixth Ballon d’Or. It’s a completely different moment, lived with my family and my children,” Messi said at the function on Monday.
“As my wife said, you must never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy. I am very lucky, I am blessed,” he said.
The legendery footballer recently complted 700 appearances for Barca, during which time he has scored 614 goals while winning 34 trophies, including 10 La Liga and four Champions League titles.
The Ballon d’Or has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, with England’s Stanley Matthews the first winner.