Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Barcelona's Lionel Messi wins Player of the Year at Best Fifa Awards: 'It's a special night for me'

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp was named best manager, while Cristiano Ronaldo stayed at home

Lionel Messi won the Fifa Men's Player of the Year award for the first time at a star-studded ceremony in Milan on Monday.

Cristiano Ronaldo, who was also shortlisted for the award, stayed at home however.

Barcelona striker Messi edged out Liverpool's Champions League winner Virgil Van Dijk, while all three were named in Fifa's World 11 best team. There was no place in the team for Liverpool's Mohamed Salah who came fourth in the overall men's voting, while Sadio Mane was fifth and Kylian Mbappe sixth.

"I want to thank those who decided to give me this recognition," said Messi.

"The most important thing for me is the collective awards, but today is also a very special night for me."

Ronaldo won the award in 2016 and 2017, and, with a break from the Ronaldo-Messi award domination, Croatian Luka Modric beat both last year.

Although unseen in Milan, Ronaldo did show himself on social media, posting an image on Instagram of himself at what appeared to be his home.

He accompanied the picture with a message that translated to: "Patience and persistence are two characteristics that differentiate the professional from the amateur. Everything that is big today has started small. You can't do everything, but do everything you can to make your dreams come true. And keep in mind that after night always comes dawn."

Messi was top scorer in the Champions League last season with 12 goals as Barcelona reached the semi-finals where

they were beaten by Liverpool in a dramatic second-leg encounter at Anfield.

The Argentine scored 36 goals to win the European Golden Shoe, plus the La Liga title with Barcelona and claimed bronze at 2019 Copa America.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp won the men's coach of the year award ahead of Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino, and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola. Alisson Becker won the goalkeeper prize.

The men's world XI was as follows:

GK: Alisson

DF: Matthijs de Ligt

DF: Sergio Ramos

DF: Marcelo

DF: Virgil van Dijk

MF: Frenkie de Jong

MF: Eden Hazard

MF: Luka Modric

FW: Cristiano Ronaldo

FW: Kylian Mbappe

FW: Lionel Messi

American Megan Rapinoe, who scored six goals at the women's World Cup, beat teammate Alex Morgan and England's Lucy Bronze to the women's prize, with her USA coach Jill Ellis lifting the women's coaching award.

"I'm a little bit at a loss for words, if you can believe it, it rarely happens to me," said Rapinoe who also commented on racism and women's rights.

"We have such an incredible opportunity being professional football players.

"We have incredible platforms, the unique opportunity to use this to actually change the world for the better."

Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa won the fair play award for allowing Aston Villa to score an equaliser during their 1-1 draw in their Championship match in April.

Romanian-born Hungarian forward Daniel Zsori's spectacular overhead kick for Debrecen against Ferencvaros won the Fifa Puskas Award for the best goal, beating strikes from Messi and Juan Fernando Quintero.

Updated: September 24, 2019 11:59 AM

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