Lionel Messi was crowned FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player of the Year on Monday evening.
The Argentina star came out on top ahead of Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo following another astounding season with Barcelona.
He scored 51 goals in 49 appearances and capped the season off by winning the La Liga title.
It was Van Dijk who prevailed at UEFA’s equivalent ceremony last month but Messi received top honours this time around.
The award was voted for by national team captains and coaches, a select group of journalists from those countries and fans, too.
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And the breakdown of votes is key in predicting just who will win the Ballon d’Or.
The Ballon d’Or is voted for entirely by journalists from around the world, chosen by magazine France Football.
And at The Best awards, Messi didn’t win the journalists’ vote. Van Dijk did.
The Liverpool centre-back received 462 votes from journalists to Messi’s 364 and Ronaldo’s 264.
So the media vote suggests Van Dijk will prevail and become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro since 2006 to win the Ballon d’Or.
Messi came out on top in all other areas.
Of the captains, he earned 377 votes, ahead of Van Dijk’s 337 and Ronaldo’s 330.
The Argentina star got 379 votes from coaches, beating Ronaldo (307) and Van Dijk (289).
And he pulled clear in the popular vote, earning 1,359,728 votes to the Portuguese’s 962,919 and the Dutchman’s 704,235.
One omen in Messi’s favour is that the three previous winners of The Best - Ronaldo in 2016 and 2017, Luka Modric in 2018 - have gone on to win the Ballon d’Or in the same year.
Messi will be desperate to continue the trend when France Football’s ceremony is held later on this year.
But it’s certainly not a foregone conclusion. Van Dijk stands a great chance of winning.News Now - Sport News