Ronaldo comes 3rd in Ballon dOr

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Lionel Messi took home world football's most coveted prize (again), but the Ballon d'Or ceremony was also notable for who DIDN'T attend.

Messi, who replaced last year's victor Luka Modric, can look back at a brilliant individual calendar year after claiming his six European Golden Shoe for his 36 goals in LaLiga last season.

As for Ronaldo, we'll keep our eyes out for where the Juventus striker spent his day, but perhaps he just couldn't bear to be there in person when Messi officially edged him 6-5 for the most Ballon d'Ors between the two.

Yet, hot on his heels this year is Liverpool's Virgil Van Dijk, whose twofold headers helped his side secure a noteworthy lead at the highest point of the Premier League.

The 2019 variant, the 64th at the award's history, will watch Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi vying to his or her sixth career honor while Megan Rapinoe will aspire to win first.

The Argentina ace beat competition from UEFA Champions League victor Virgil van Dijk and UEFA Nations League victor Cristiano Ronaldo to bag his sixth award.

Van Dijk was one of five defenders among the 30 Ballon d'Or nominees announced in October, while Fabio Cannavaro was the last defender to win the award in 2006.

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Speaking in a post-match interview after Liverpool's 2-1 win over Brighton on Saturday, Van Dijk said, "There are no losers on that evening".

Holland global Van Dijk, a cornerstone of Liverpool's Champions League success last season and UEFA Player of the Year, came second to Messi in the voting for FIFA World Player of the Year in September.

'Look, six times the Ballon d'Or, we need to respect greatness as well.

Messi is the current betting favourite and, according to the image, he will best Van Dijk with 446 points to the Dutchman's 382.

Van Dijk was one of seven Liverpool players on the shortlist along with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. That is Lionel. Best player of last season?

"So yes, he's incredibly important but if Virgil played the last line alone it would be pretty hard. I don't know exactly how it will work but that is how I see it".

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