Lionel Messi is back on top.
For the sixth time, the hosts at France Football’s end-of-year awards ceremonies read out Messi’s name as the winner of the Ballon d’Or. The 2019 award is Messi’s first since 2015. Since the the award was won by Cristiano Ronaldo twice and Luka Modric last year after guiding Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final.
So far this season, Messi has scored 14 goals to go with eight assists for Barcelona in all competitions. Last season however, Messi returned to his dominance, leading La Liga with 36 goals and scoring a total of 48 between the league and the UEFA Champions League. He also had 16 assists between both leagues.
Also honored on Monday evening was the winners of the Best Young Player and the Best Goalkeeper, a new award.
The goalkeeping award, named after the Soviet great Lev Yashin, went to Liverpool’s Alisson Becker. The Brazilian goalkeeper backstopped Liverpool in his first season in England to second place in the Premier League and the 2019 UEFA Champions League title. He’s recorded 21 clean sheets in 45 Premier League appearances so far.
Matthijs de Ligt, the former Ajax star who led his team to back to back Champions League semifinals, was named the Best Young Player by France Football. Now with Juventus, de Ligt is part of a superstar generation of young Dutch players who are looking to take their nation far at the 2020 Euros and beyond. De Ligt, at just 20-years old, still has many of his best years ahead of him.
The top ten in the final 2019 Ballon d’Or is as follows:
10. Riyad Mahrez, Man City
9. Bernardo Silva, Man City
8. Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich
7. Alisson Becker, Liverpool
6. Kylian Mbappe, PSG
5. Mohamed Salah, Liverpool
4. Sadie Mane, Liverpool
3. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus
2. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona