American Football

Lionel Messi wins record sixth Ballon d’Or

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The 32-year-old saw off competition from the likes of Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to win the prestigious accolade, which is voted for by journalists.Messi won the award for the first time in 2009 but had not won it since 2015. The Barcelona forward now has one more title than arch rival Ronaldo. "Today is my sixth Ballon d'Or. It's a completely different moment, lived with my family and my children," said Messi at the award ceremony in Paris. "As my wife said, you must never stop dreaming but always work to improve and continue to enjoy. I am very lucky, I am blessed."READ: Can Leicester City upset the odds and win another Premier League title?
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Magic Messi

Messi has maintained his ridiculously high levels over the last 12 months, becoming Europe's top scorer for a third consecutive season and winning his 10th La Liga title with Barcelona. He was also named The Best FIFA Men's Player in September, once again beating Ronaldo to the title. This season has started in familiar fashion with the magician scoring nine league goals for the Catalan club. He netted a superb late winner against title rivals Atletico Madrid on Sunday and was called "infallible" by his manager Ernesto Valverde.Messi added: "I hope to continue for a long time. I realize that I am very lucky, even if, one day, retirement will ring. It will be difficult."But I still have beautiful years ahead of me. Time goes very quickly, so I want to enjoy football and my family."READ: Arsenal continues winless streak despite new caretaker manager

More glory for Rapinoe

Meanwhile, Megan Rapinoe won the women's award after an incredible year for her national side. She co-captained the USWNT to World Cup success earlier this year, being named the tournament's best player. The 34-year-old has also been influential off the pitch where she used her platform to fight for causes such as pay parity and equal rights."I can't believe I'm the one winning it and women's football is lucky to have these players," she said. "Thanks to my teammates for all the support. You allow me to be who I am on the field and the person I am off of it. There is not enough thank yous in the world for all that you guys do for me."England's Lucy Bronze finished second, ahead of US striker Alex Morgan in third. Megan Rapinoe became the second female recipient of the Ballon d'Or.

'There was just someone a little bit better'

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