Argentine Lionel Messi won the best FIFA player of the year award for a record sixth time yesterday, beating Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last season, Messi won the Spanish La Liga title with Barcelona as well as the European golden boot having scored 54 goals in 58 games in all competitions (last time he won the award was in 2015).
However, Messi did not enjoy success with the national team as it lost in the Copa America semi-finals to rivals Brazil.
His win is somewhat of a surprise with Van Dijk, a centreback who transformed Liverpool’s defense on the way to the Champions League crown, having won the European best player award.
Meanwhile, US co-captain Megan Rapinoe won the women’s top award after helping her country to the World Cup title this year in a tournament considered to be a milestone in the development and expansion of women’s football internationally. She beat fellow co-captain Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze.
“I’m at a loss for words,” she said. “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.”Players should use their success to help others, Rapinoe said.
“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.”For men’s coach of the year, Liverpool’s Juergen Klopp was voted while US national team coach Jill Ellis took home the best women’s coach trophy.
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