Ballon d'Or 2019 victor 'leaked' online ahead of tonight's ceremony

The 32-year-old, who lifted the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, beat Liverpool's Champions League victor Virgil van Dijk in a vote of worldwide journalists.

Mo Salah is supposedly going to come in third ahead of five-time Ballon d'Or victor Cristiano Ronaldo. "That is Virgil. We will see", Klopp said.

On Sunday, it was Messi's turn, with the 32-year-old scoring the winning goal at Atletico Madrid in the 86th minute as Barcelona returned to the top of La Liga.

"There are a couple of players like [Messi] who are fantastic".

It's time for its largest person award in the realm of soccer as each fan expects to find out who will be declared as another Ballon D'Or. Voters handed Messi the accolade by a whopping 240-point margin, with the diminutive Argentine gaining 473 points out of a possible 480, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo in second (281 points) and Barcelona teammate Xavi in third (170 points).

Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (L) is presented with the men's player of year award by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

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Still, at the age of 23, Messi had already been crowned world player of the year twice - with plenty more in store.

That incredible form helped him become only the fourth player in history to have three Ballon d'Or titles to his name - alongside Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten - when he picked up the prize for 2011.

Van Dijk could have been the first defender to lift the Ballon d'Or since Italy's Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, but Messi meant he had to settle for second place.

On the other hand, the Portugal captain chose to glow for his country and scored 14 times in 10 worldwide looks in 2019-he has never scored more goals because of his state in another calendar year.

The Reds have opened up a big lead at the top but Saturday's 2-1 victory over Brighton was a nervy affair and the team have now gone 12 games without keeping a clean sheet in all competitions. There have been a number of brilliant performance over the past year, and it is time to recognise these stupendous athletes for their remarkable work.

  • Lawrence Cooper