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Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi wins Ballon d'Or 2019 by the finest of margins

France Football published the voting results from around the world, which showed that Van Dijk was close, but there was a big drop to Cristiano Ronaldo in third.

On Monday, Lionel Messi won a record sixth Ballon d'Or. The Argentine was crowned during the ceremony in Paris as the best player in the world of 2019, but when the votes were totted up we realised that it was a close call. France Football shared the global opinions following the awards which showed a total number of points for the Barcelona star of 686, just seven points more than the man in second place, Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk.

Messi's continental shift

There were some interesting voting patterns around the globe that have been analysed. In Europe and Asia, for example, voters had Van Dijk as the outright winner giving him 231 and 155 points respectively compared with Messi's second place with 194 and 134 points. In his native South America, the 32-year old was ahead of the Dutch defender by 47 points, while in Oceania it was by 22. North America and the Caribbean gave Messi a substantial lead over his Red rival of 102 points but the greatest difference was seen in Africa where he led by a huge 187.

After playing a major role in Liverpool winning the Champions League and in reaching a record points total in the Premier League, Van Dijk pushed the LaLiga man all the way, but after him there was a sizeable gap to the player in third place, Cristiano Ronaldo. The now-Juventus forward, who has a collection of five Ballons d'Or himself, came in 200 points behind Messi, on 486.

A golden sextet | Messi's Ballon d'Or collection.

A golden sextet | Messi's Ballon d'Or collection.

The rest of the top 10 is completed by Sadio Mané (347), Mohamed Salah (178), Kylian Mbappé (89), Alisson Becker (67), Robert Lewandowski (44), Bernardo Silva (41) and Riyad Mahrez (33).

An unusually close Ballon d'Or

The previous two winners of the individual award, Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo, came out on top with a much more convincing victory than in this 2019 edition. The Croatian received a total of 753 points, which was 275 ahead of the Portuguese star in second on 478. Griezmann was third on 414.

In 2017, Cristiano totalled a massive 946 points, leaving a gap of 276 points to Lionel Messi. Neymar picked up 361 points in third.