Messi collects record 6th player of the year – ESPN

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Lionel Messi beat Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo to win FIFA’s The Best award, which is given to the top men’s player, on Monday.

The award was handed to the Barcelona and Argentina captain at a ceremony in Milan.

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Messi, 32, led Barcelona to a fourth La Liga title in the past five seasons, scoring 36 goals and providing 15 assists in 35 league matches last campaign. He posted 51 goals and 22 assists in all competitions.

Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric won the award last year — as well as the Ballon d’Or, which is awarded by France Football — breaking up a decade-long duel between Messi and Ronaldo for the prize.

However, this is Messi’s first The Best award, having gone without a top personal honour since 2015.

Ronaldo and Messi had won every main individual honour since Kaka’s triumph in 2007. They each won the last two FIFA World Player of the Year awards — Ronaldo in 2008 and Messi in 2009 — as well as the Ballons d’Or in those years.

From 2010, the two awards merged and became the FIFA Bal

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