Messi wins record sixth award, Rapi­noe claims women’s hon­our

The Chronicle Herald (Provincial) - - SPORTS -

Li­onel Messi claimed a record sixth Bal­lon d'Or award on Mon­day, beat­ing Liver­pool's lead­ing nom­i­nee and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo to lift soc­cer's most pres­ti­gious in­di­vid­ual tro­phy.

Me­gan Rapi­noe ear­lier won the women's Bal­lon d'Or af­ter lead­ing the United States to a record-ex­tend­ing fourth World Cup ti­tle in France this year as they re­tained the tro­phy.

Messi, who won the Liga ti­tle with Barcelona but only man­aged third place in the Copa Amer­ica with his coun­try, added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 tro­phies.

The Ar­gen­tine fin­ished above Dutch­man Vir­gil van Dijk and Portugal's third-placed Ron­aldo, who has won the award five times.

"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," added the 32-year-old.

"It will be tough but I still have some years ahead of me. Time flies so I will en­joy foot­ball and my fam­ily."

The 34-year-old Rapi­noe, the stand­out mid­fielder at the JuneJuly tour­na­ment, suc­ceeded Nor­way's Ada Hegerberg who did not take part in the World Cup.

Rapi­noe was not present at the cer­e­mony in the Theatre du Chatelet, where the show An Amer­i­can In Paris is on.

"I'm so sad I can't make it tonight. It's ab­so­lutely in­cred­i­ble. Con­grats to the other nom­i­nees. I can't be­lieve I'm the one win­ning in this field, it's been an in­cred­i­ble year," Rapi­noe said in a recorded mes­sage.

Dutch­man Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Am­s­ter­dam's thrilling run to the Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nals and now at Ju­ven­tus, won the Kopa tro­phy for the best un­der-21 male player.

Alis­son, one of the four Liver­pool play­ers in the top seven for the men's Bal­lon d'Or, was awarded the new Yashin tro­phy for the best male goal­keeper of the year.

There was, how­ever, no tro­phy for the best fe­male un­der21 player or keeper.

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