Lionel Messi Named 2019 Best FIFA Men’s Player Award
Lionel Messi has won the 2019 Best FIFA Men’s Player award.
The Argentine beat Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil Van Dijk to the crown.
Betting odds had Van Dijk as the favourite after winning the Champions League, but the Argentine rose above the Liverpool defender after finishing second in the first two years of the award, while he didn’t even reach a podium finish last year.
It is the sixth time Messi has been voted the world’s best, after wins in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
“I want to thank everyone who decided to give me this recognition,” Messi said as he collected his trophy.
“For me, individual awards are secondary and the collective comes first.
“But today is a special day for me.
“I have my wife and children here, and it’s the first time they’ve come.
“Having them here to enjoy this is priceless.
“They love football and they’re watching everyone around them shyly.”
Messi dominated for Barcelona last season.
The 32-year-old is now favourite to go on and win the Ballon d’Or, as happened with Ronaldo twice and Luka Modric in 2018.
Megan Rapinoe wins Best FIFA Women’s Player Award
Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe has won the women’s player award – ahead of fellow American Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze – at the Best Fifa Football Awards in Milan.
Rapinoe, 34, claimed the Golden Ball for being the best player at the 2019 Women’s World Cup as she helped the United States win the competition.
Lyon right-back Bronze, 27, was named in the women’s team of the year – the only English player to feature.
Rapinoe’s international boss, Jill Ellis, took the women’s coach award.
The other managers to be nominated were the Netherlands’ Sarina Wiegman, whose side lost 2-0 in the final to the United States, and England’s Phil Neville, who guided the Lionesses to fourth place.
In her speech, Rapinoe highlighted the racism, homophobia and inequalities that she said still exist in football.
She said: “Some of the stories that inspired me this year are [Manchester City forward] Raheem Sterling and [Napoli defender] Kalidou Koulibaly – their incredible performances on the field and their reaction to the disgusting racism they have to take.
“If we really want to have meaningful change, if everyone other than Sterling or Koulibaly was outraged, if everyone was outraged by the homophobia… We have such an incredible opportunity being professional footballers, so much success, an incredible platform.
“I ask everyone here, lend your platform to other people, share your success.
”We have a unique opportunity to use this game to actually change the world for better. I hope you take that to heart, do something, we have incredible power in this room.”
Rapinoe, who plays for Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, added: “I want to thank my family, my friends, thank you for all my support you’ve given me and all the coaches I’ve had in my life.
“Jill Ellis and the rest have put us in a great position. This was an incredible year for women’s football.
”For those who just noticed you are a bit late to the party. It truly was incredible, to be part of the World Cup, the enthusiasm we had was amazing.”
The Best, in full
Men’s Player: Lionel Messi
Women’s Player: Megan Rapinoe
Men’s Coach: Jurgen Klopp
Women’s Coach: Jill Ellis
Women’s Goalkeeper: Alisson
Women’s Goalkeeper: Sari van Veenendaal
Puskás Award: Daniel Zsori
Fan Award: Silvia Grecco
Fair Play Award: Marcelo Bielsa
Men’s World11: Alisson; Matthijs de Ligt, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Virgil van Dijk; Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Luka Modric; Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi
Women’s World11: Sari van Veenendaal; Lucy Bronze, Nilla Fischer, Kelley O’Hara, Wendie Renard; Julie Ertz, Amandine Henry, Rose Lavelle; Marta, Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe