SPORTS


Lionel Messi wins sixth Ballon d'Or award

Baku, December 3, AZERTAC

Lionel Messi became the first men's footballer to win the Ballon d'Or award for a sixth time, taking the award for the world's top men's player Monday at a Paris gala, according to ESPN.

The Argentina forward scored 46 times for club and country in 2019 -- including the only goal in Barcelona's 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday. He also helped the Camp Nou side win La Liga.

The 31-year-old beat out Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who was instrumental in helping Liverpool win the Champions League, for the award voted on by a panel of international journalists.

"I am very lucky, I am blessed. I hope I will continue for a long time," Messi told reporters. "I realize that I'm lucky even if one day it will be time to retire. It will be tough, but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies, so I will enjoy football and my family," he said.

Messi also came out on top in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and he is now one clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five.

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane finished fourth behind Ronaldo in the final voting.

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