Ballon d'Or 2019: Messi and Rapinoe win from Van Dijk and Bronze – as it happened

John Brewin on 2 December 2019

Here’s a snap report on the grand occasion.

And you can relive Sid Lowe’s take on Messi’s exploits at the weekend …

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Here’s a bit of what Messi had to say on stage. He spoke for quite a while. “I know it isn’t easy,” said Didier Drogba by words of encouragement but the little man ought to be used to all this by now.

To the journalists and my colleagues with whom I win and lose, I remember my first Ballon D’Or in Paris, when I arrived with my brothers, now I pick up the sixth, and this was absolutely unthinkable. I never stopped dreaming and enjoying football like when I was a child. I hope I have more years to enjoy, although I am aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal (retirement) is approaching.

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It’s a funny old game.

Van Dijk doesn’t look too disappointed and he explains why: “I had a great season, but sometimes you come up against players like him [Messi], who are a bit unnatural. Six Ballon d’Ors, you gotta respect greatness. I was close, but I lost out to someone better.”

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Here’s the top four.

And Messi at the summit.

Sid Lowe paid glowing tribute to the continuing brilliance of Messi in this week’s blog from La Liga.

Cristiano, at this point, has probably switched over to Coronation Street.

The count-back was: Sadio Mané in fourth, Cristiano Ronaldo in third (!) and Virgil van Dijk second.

This might be the last time he wins this award, but perhaps the crowning achievement since there may not be any way back for Ronaldo. “Thank you to my colleagues from my club,” he says. “It’s really amazing. Thank you so much.”

Messi enjoyed that show, which included a message from his wife and three kids. And out comes Luka Modric to pass over the gong itself.

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Here is the moment of truth as it happened.

Didier Drogba sits Messi down in a director’s chair and they go through the year’s highlights and a video package that includes Messi at home in one of those subterranean homes with no lights the top stars they all appear to live in.

Lionel Messi wins the Ballon D'Or for the sixth time!

A double hat-trick of wins for him and he overtakes Ronaldo, back on five and coming up on 35.

Lionel Messi wins the Men’s 2019 Ballon d’Or!
Lionel Messi wins the Men’s 2019 Ballon d’Or! Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

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Here we go for the final four...Didier Drogba has the envelope in his hand.

Great achievement for Lucy Bronze. Phil Neville thinks she’s the best and he was almost proved right.

While we wait for the big reveal, how about The Guardian’s own awards season?

That leaves Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mané, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the final four. There’s no sign of Ronaldo, and it’s not like him to not show up and support his fellow pros. Big chance there will be no Ron and two Liverpool players in the top three.

Lucy Bronze came second with Alex Morgan of the USA third in the women’s award.

Some words from Megan Rapinoe.

It’s a bummer [not to be there]. I congratulate all the nominees, I can’t believe I’m the one winning it. I want to thank my teammates, my coaches, my federation, to allow to be the person who I am on the field and off the field. Thank you to my beautiful girlfriend Sue. I’m so sorry I can’t be there, I know it’s going to be insane but I’ll do my best to get back there next year.

Megan Rapinoe talks on a video link after being announced as the winner of the Ballon d’Or Féminin.
Megan Rapinoe talks on a video link after being announced as the winner of the Ballon d’Or Féminin. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

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The men’s countdown continues with Mbappé in sixth.

Megan Rapinoe wins the Ballon d'Or Féminin!

She can’t be there, but delivers a video message, as does her mum and twin sister, in a video package that tells the story of someone who became a global figure in 2019. Donald Trump’s congratulations are in the post, no doubt.

Now for the women. Here’s the top ten.

Miedema
Lavelle
White
Kerr
Renard
Marozsan
Rapinoe
Morgan
Bronze
Hegerberg

The men’s countdown continues: Alisson 7th

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Alisson wins best goalkeeper, the Yachine trophy

“It’s a great honour,” he says. “I am blessed and grateful.” Mrs Becker looks very happy, too.

Here’s the podium.

Liverpool’s Alisson Becker with the Yachine trophy.
Liverpool’s Alisson Becker with the Yachine trophy. Photograph: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

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Robert Lewandowski is on stage to present the Yachine award for the goalkeepers. He and Drogba enjoy some striker banter on stage before the big reveal.

  • Alisson (Liverpool and Brazil)
  • Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany)
  • Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)
  • Andre Onana (Ajax and Cameroon)
  • Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus and Poland)
  • Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid and Slovenia)
  • Kepa (Chelsea and Spain)
  • Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan and Slovenia)
  • Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur and France)
  • Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona and Germany)

We are counting down the men’s winners’ top ten from 10-8 - they are the Manchester City pair of Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva in 10th and 9th and in 8th is Bayern Munich goal machine Robert Lewandowski.

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Matthijs de Ligt wins the Kopa Award for young players

He thanks his old club Ajax and his family and girlfriend and says of Messi and Ronaldo that we must enjoy them when we can.

Matthijs de Ligt wins the Kopa Trophy.
Matthijs de Ligt wins the Kopa Trophy. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

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Mbappé is the current holder of the Kopa Trophy, the award that is now to be presented.

These are the nominees:

  • Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)
  • João Félix (Atletico Madrid)
  • Vinícius Júnior (Real Madrid)
  • Lee Kang-in (Valencia)
  • Andriy Lunin (Real Valladolid)
  • Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)
  • Mattéo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
  • Moise Kean (Everton)
  • Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
  • Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Last year’s winners are on stage, and that’s Ada Hegerberg, Kylian Mbappé and Luka Modric. The Croatian says: “It was something amazing and it will stay for the rest of my life.”

That’s Luka done for the night. He didn’t even make the top 30 this year. Didier Drogba has gone off-piste, and is talking about that Barcelona win at Chelsea in 2009. Turns out that Mbappé was a young man waiting for his autograph that night and DD stormed home in a huff. Now he is making up for it by having a selfie taken.

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Here’s the nominees for the Yachin award for goalkeepers.

  • Alisson (Liverpool and Brazil)
  • Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany)
  • Ederson (Manchester City and Brazil)
  • Andre Onana (Ajax and Cameroon)
  • Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus and Poland)
  • Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid and Slovenia)
  • Kepa (Chelsea and Spain)
  • Samir Handanovic (Inter Milan and Slovenia)
  • Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur and France)
  • Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona and Germany)

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There have been props to former winners like Pavel Nedved, Hristo Stoichkov and last year’s winner, Luka Modric, before the top ten for the male category are announced.

Ok, here we are in the Theatre, and it’s Didier Drogba who is the master of ceremonies alongside Sandy Heribert, a Eurosport presenter and who also heads up something called the Ultimate Beastmaster.

Hosts of the Ballon d’Or ceremony Didier Drogba and Sandy Heribert.
Hosts of the Ballon d’Or ceremony Didier Drogba and Sandy Heribert. Photograph: Yoan Valat/EPA

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Preamble

Oxford, Cambridge, Hull; Milligan, Cleese, Sessions. That’s what these three-men Ballon D’Or podiums have often resembled in recent years, with the greatest of respect for the likes of Neymar, Antoine Griezmann and Franck Ribery having to applaud one of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as they go to collect their latest gong. Less so this time, with Virgil van Dijk having such a stellar 2019. However, the last defenders to win this award was Matthias Sammer way back in 1996, in the dwindling days of the sweeper and Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. Lionel Messi is overriding favourite, with Cristiano Ronaldo not quite at the level of 2017, the last time he won the award. The great men are locked at five each after Luka Modric stole away with it last year and there is even the possibility that Big Ron won’t even make the podium. There is Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah to consider, too.

For the women’s award, Megan Rapoinoe is favourite, with England’s Lucy Bronze in the mix. Last year’s winner, Ada Hegerberg, may lose out after choosing not to go to last summer’s World Cup.

The venue is Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, as this award is France Football’s babychild.

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