The Argentine narrowly beat Robert Lewandowski to top spot, with just 33 points separating the pair.
Jorginho finished third, with Karim Benzema and N’Golo Kante rounding out the top five.
The award was determined by journalists from FIFA’s national associations.
Only one journalist per country can vote. Those participating get to vote for five players. They are allowed to select players who play in or are affiliated with their own country.
Graphics, posted on to Twitter by @TheEuropeanLad, show how every journalist voted in the 2021 Ballon d’Or.
View how the voting went in the images below…
England’s representing journalist, Henry Winter of The Times, voted for Chelsea’s Jorginho first, with Messi and Lewandowski second. Gianluigi Donnarumma and Mohamed Salah also made his top five.
Pascal Ferre of France Football voted for Lewandowski to win, followed by Messi and Benzema.
Italy’s representing journalist, Paolo Condo, unsurprisingly voted for Jorginho to win the award. Perhaps surprisingly, Condo had Benzema second, above Messi and Lewandowski.
Some of the journalist’s votes were either plain bizarre or just extremely surprising.
Comores’ journalist, James Golden Eloue, voted for Benzema to win and didn’t include Messi in his top five, as did Togo’s Mathias Ayena.
Taras Hlypenko of Kyrgyzstan voted for Cristiano Ronaldo to win it all and also didn’t include Messi in his top five, as did Turkey’s Fatih Dogan.
Iceland’s Vidir Sigurdsson and Brazil’s Cléber Machado thought De Bruyne should have won the Ballon d’Or.
Uzbekistan’s Grigoriy Rtveladze ranked Chelsea’s Mason Mount in second ahead of Messi.
While Portugal’s Joaquim Rita didn’t include Ronaldo in his top five at all, despite being eligible to do so.
Rita instead voted for Kante to win, with Messi not making his top five either.