Barcelona’s Lionel Messi last night got his hands on his sixth Ballon d’Or and said he’s far from finished.
“I hope to continue for a long time,” Messi said on Monday in Paris from behind a row of the trophies which honour the world’s best soccer player.
“I realize that I am very lucky, even if, one day, retirement will come. It will be difficult. But I still have a lot of good years ahead of me. Time goes by very quickly, so I want to enjoy football and my family.”
While the 32-year-old Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or, United States captain Megan Rapinoe won her first.
Messi has received the Ballon d’Or previously in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk was second in the polling this year, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo, who shared the record of five Ballon d’Ors with Messi until Monday.
Messi’s and Ronaldo’s 10-year grip on the award organized by France Football magazine was ended last year by Luka Modric.
But Messi was back on top of his game over the past 12 months, scoring 36 times last season en route to a 10th Spanish Liga title, and was the Champions League top scorer.
France Football magazine has been awarding the Ballon d’Or since 1956 and created a women’s award for the first time last year when Norway’s Ada Hegerberg won it. Hegerberg was fourth this time. Lucy Bronze of England was second, and Alex Morgan third.
Juventus defender Matthijs De Light won the Kopa Trophy for the best under-21 player, and the inaugural Yashin Trophy given to the year’s best men’s goalkeeper went to Liverpool’s Alisson.