Didier Drogba was seeking in all the glory at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris when he was given the envelope that carried the name of the 2019 Ballon d'Or winner on Tuesday. When he peeked inside, he knew that he would be creating history when he would announce who had won the prestigious title, it was Lionel Messi's name.
The Argentine footballer won the Ballon d'Or for a record sixth time and has overtaken his long-time legacy rival Cristiano Ronaldo after a one-year stalemate when both Ronaldo and Messi had five and the award was given to Luka Modric in 2018.
Not Messi or Ronaldo fan. Just a football fan. But this guy makes football looks like simple 1+1=2.
Six ballon d'or is unreal!! pic.twitter.com/CLEAoX1Vcc
“I would like to thank the journalists, who voted me to have this prize. Of course, thank you so much to my colleagues both club and country, who have contributed to this amazing prize,” Messi said after receiving the award. “10 years ago I received my first Golden Ball in Paris. I remember that I came with my three brothers. I was 22 years old, it was unthinkable for me. Today, 10 years later, I receive the sixth, at a special time with my wife and three children," he said.
Messi has had a spectacular 2019 which makes it very difficult to argue that the 32-year-old did not deserve the honour. 41 goals in 44 games to lead Barcelona to the La Liga title last season and a visit to the Champions League semis alongside a Copa del Rey finale make a solid case for the all-time great.
Messi Stats with Barça in year 2019 ð´ðµ #6
44 games (37 starts)
207 dribbles completed
121 chances created
40 BIG big chances created
1866 accurate passes pic.twitter.com/EeCkVleLIT
Having said that, many believe it was the year of Liverpool football, more specifically a certain Virgil van Dijk. The man who albeit doesn't have any individual statistics to be justifiably compared to Messi, was the major reason behind his club's illustrious season.
With van Dijk leading the defense, the Reds only gave away 38 goals in 45 games in the year which is far better than the rest of the teams in the entire European continent. He has the best solo record than any other defender in the world and has to be credited with the major portion of Liverpool's defense despite having Joel Matip and Joe Gomez to support him.
Virgil Van Dijk in 2019:
ð Champions League
ð UEFA Super Cup
â UEFA Nations League finalist
ð¥ PFA Players Player of the Year
ð¥ Premier League Player of the Year
ð¥ UEFA Men's Player of the Year
â PFA Team of the Year
â UEFA Defender of the Year
Ballon d'Or â pic.twitter.com/zUNQnIm7I0
Despite knowing how much he'd contributed to the great season that Liverpool had and understanding that he was back by an enormous number of football-watching fanatics, the 29-year-old star showed great class and sportsmanship when he was placed second in a close race with Messi for the Ballon d'Or.
"It was amazing. He (Lionel Messi) is pure natural. He is a six time winner so I need to respect that. I hope we can do again what we did with Liverpool and Netherlands last year," he said afterwards.
While Juventus' No. 7 failed to show up at the event just like he did when Luka Modric was to be given the award last year, van Dijk was not only there to support Leo Messi but also had genuinely positive words to share about the Barcelona legend's monumental achievement.