Messi, Rapinoe clinch World Player of the Year awards

Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 02:25 |
Best FIFA Men’s Player of 2019, Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi (left) and Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2019, US and Reign FC midfielder Megan Rapinoe pose at the end of The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in Milan, Italy, on Monday night. Photo/AFP

Milan, Tuesday 

Lionel Messi voted for Sadio Mane as the best player in the world and excluded fellow World Player of the Year nominee Virgil van Dijk from his top three.

The Barcelona superstar, who won the coveted trophy, put Cristiano Ronaldo and Frenkie de Jong as second and third respectively.

Ronaldo voted his Juventus team-mate Matthijs De Ligt as the best player over the course of the year and completely snubbed Messi from his top three. De Jong and Kylian Mbappe made up Ronaldo’s top trio.

Virgil van Dijk, who came second on the night ahead of Ronaldo, voted Messi as the best player with Liverpool team-mates Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane second and third respectively.

Harry Kane voted Messi as No 1 with Van Dijk and Ronaldo coming in second and third. England manager Gareth Southgate selected Messi as his No 1 with, Ronaldo and Van Dijk in second and third respectively.

Van Dijk’s Liverpool team-mate Andy Robertson, who was not selected in the Team of the Year, chose Van Dijk, De Jong and Mane in his top three.Van Dijk’s manager Jurgen Klopp, who was named FIFA’s Men’s Coach of the Year, heavily praised his defender despite missing out on the honour.

Klopp told Van Dijk: “You’re already a leader like Messi and Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated this competition pretty much for ever. They are good role models for young players in this way. You cannot get to these heights if you are not this kind of player. 

And it’s now the same for Virgil. The other guys know they have to give everything,” he added.

Klopp’s goalkeeper Alisson was in the Team of the Year alongside Van Dijk, but no other players from the European champions made the team.

Sergio Ramos, De Ligt, Marcelo, Luka Modric, De Jong, Eden Hazard, Mbappe, Messi and Ronaldo, who did not turn up to the awards night, made up the rest of the team.

England star Lucy Bronze was named in FIFA’s Women’s World XI alongside Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan on Monday night.

Morgan and Rapinoe helped guide USA to World Cup glory in the summer.

Marcelo Bielsa and Leeds United were awarded FIFA’s Fair Play award for allowing Aston Villa to score in last season’s meeting between the two sides.  -Dailymail

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