Lionel Messi was selected for the FIFA Best Player Award 2019 by beating rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil Van Dijk, who was the winner of UEFA player’s award last month.
Contestants for FIFA Best Award and other titles
Started in 2016, the first two awards went to Cristiano Ronaldo (2016-17). In 2018, Croatian Luka Modric won the prestigious award. But in 2019, Lionel Messi pipped both the champions to become the best.
Both Lionel Messi and Van Dijk are also competing for the coveted Ballon d’Or that would be announced on 2nd December.
Last season, Lionel Messi emerged top scorer in the Champions League with 12 goals and won the European Golden Shoe with 36 goals in the La Liga title.
Van Dijk was in the race to FIFA player of the year after winning World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or in 2006.
Why was FIFA Best Award a surprise for Lionel Messi?
Messi called it a surprise because Van Dijk was very close to the award after winning UEFA Player’s award. It is for the first time that Messi received this prestigious award before Barcelona were dumped out by Liverpool in the semi-finals.
Why Cristiano Ronald didn’t attend the ceremony?
The ceremony was held in Milan’s iconic La Scala Opera House but Ronaldo missed the function because of his inclusion in FIFA’s World 11 best team along with Messi.
FIFA Best Player 2019 Women’s Award
Megan Rapinoe got the FIFA Best Player 2019 for women. He beat former World Cup winner Alex Morgan and England’s Lucy Bronze.
Meet Megan Rapinoe
The 34-year old woman footballer was joint top scorer at the women’s World Cup. She scored six goals and won Golden Boot and Golden Ball for the best player. She is also known for her outspoken views on US President Donald Trump.