Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (L) is presented by FIFA President Gianni Infantino with the trophy for the Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2019 Award during the Best FIFA Football Awards 2019 in Milan, Italy, Sept. 23, 2019. (Photo by Alberto Lingria/Xinhua)
MILAN, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) — Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the best men’s player at the Best FIFA Football Awards here on Monday night. Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo came second and third respectively.
The win marks the sixth time that Messi has won the award after the Argentine forward won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The award comes off the back of an excellent season for the attacker, as he led Barcelona to yet another La Liga title, scoring 54 goals and providing 20 assists in just 58 games during the year.
Meanwhile, the USA midfielder, Megan Rapinoe won the women’s best player after leading her national team to World Cup glory in France earlier this summer. The midfielder finished the tournament as the golden boot (top scorer) and golden ball (best player) winner.
Behind the scenes, Jurgen Klopp claimed the best manager award, as the German won out over fellow Premier League managers, Manchester City rival Pep Guardiola and Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino.
Klopp coached Liverpool to the Champions League title last season, as well as a record-breaking second-place finish in the Premier League. The Reds also currently top this season’s table too.
In the women’s game, USA national team coach Jill Ellis won the top prize after taking her side all the way in the World Cup this summer. Ellis is the only women’s coach to win the World Cup twice.
English Championship heavyweights, Leeds United and iconic coach Marcelo Bielsa, picked up the FIFA Fair Play. The Yorkshire giants sacrificed automatic promotion to the Premier League last season after allowing the opposition to score an equalizer following a Leeds goal scored while an opposition player was injured.
As one of England’s biggest clubs, Leeds have been chasing a return to the English top-flight since 2004, when the club was relegated due to financial troubles, only two years after the club had appeared in the Champions League semifinal.
Elsewhere Brazilian and Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and the Netherlands’ Sari van Veenendaal won the best men’s and women’s goalkeepers, while Puskas Award for the best goal of the year went to 18-year-old Daniel Zsori.