Lionel Messi's Sixth Ballon d'Or Win Was By A Slim Margin
Lionel Messi claimed a record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or in Paris last night but runner up Virgil van Dijk wasn't far behind him at all.
The Ballon d'Or has been awarded by France Football since 1956 and sees their editorial staff put together the initial 30-man shortlist.
The crucial stage of voting then goes to to leading journalists from all over the globe, with one vote per nation. 2,816 points were awarded from 176 journalists who voted and Messi came on top by seven points.
As per the Evening Standard, a leaked upcoming copy of the French magazine due to be published on December 4 has the full voting breakdown and shows Messi accruing 686 points after his 54-goal year for club and country.
Van Dijk, who picked up the UEFA Men's Player of the Year in August, was on 679 - meaning there was only a couple of votes in it given the point system of five for each journalists' first pick, three for second and one for third.
In terms of continents, Europe and Asia had Van Dijk on top, but both North and South America, Africa and Oceania opted for Messi and helped score him a first Ballon d'Or since 2015.
Van Dijk, the highest ranked defender in Ballon d'Or since Fabio Cannavaro won the award back in 2006, gave a classy interview after losing out to Messi.
"I'm very proud of what I've achieved last year and hopefully we can do that again this year."@VirgilvDijk on a memorable 2019, after finishing second in the #BallonDor :raised_hands: pic.twitter.com/YVUZqdvQ9D
- Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 2, 2019
"To be absolutely honest, I never thought I'd be up for Ballon d'Or until I as actually nominated and it says a lot of how my career has been, it's never been easy," the Dutchman said.
"My career is just different than the winner here, I came late but I never gave up my dreams and I had to work hard every step of the way."
"Where I am right now is something I'm very proud of, and to be here has made me very proud and makes me want to work harder so i can be here next year."
Incredibly, it's emerged that a Sri Lankan journalist omitted both Messi and Van Dijk from his top two, instead picking Trent Alexander-Arnold as his winner and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Antoine Griezmann as his second and third respectively.