Ballon d'Or, as it happened: Messi, Rapinoe win top honours

Ballon d'Or 2019 Ceremony: Catch the highlights news and updates from the ceremony where Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe bagged the top honours.

Messi with his sixth Ballon d'or crown.   -  AP

Welcome to Sportstar's coverage of the 2019 Ballon d'Or ceremony taking place  at  the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. I, Aashin Prasad, will be taking you through the award ceremony.

 

Messi sets up his sixth title on a table on the podium with the rest of his five titles. That is some sight. And that's the end of the proceedings from the ceremony.

Van Dijk on finishing second: "It was amazing. He is pure natural. He is a six time winner so i need to respect that. I hope we can do again what we did with Liverpool and Netherlands last year."

Sadio Mane finished fourth, Cristiano Ronaldo third while Virgil van Dijk came close in second behind Messi.

Modric walks out to hand Messi the award. Here's what he had to say: "I would like to thank the journalists, who voted me to have this prize. Of course, thank you so much to my colleagues both club and country, who have contributed to this amazing prize. 10 years ago I received my first Golden Ball in Paris. I remember that I came with my three brothers. I was 22 years old, it was unthinkable for me. Today, 10 years later, I receive the sixth, at a special time with my wife and three children"

Drogba brings out two chairs where he and Messi take a seat and watch a 'Messi montage' along with the audience.

Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d'Or award for the sixth time! He overtakes Ronaldo and sits on top of the perch in the all-time list. 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019

Drogba flaunts the envelope which will reveal the Ballon d'or winner. He has a peak at it...

Rapinoe has a pre-recorded video message: "I am sorry I can't make it there tonight It's a bummer. I want to thank my teammates. I know it's going to be insane. i will try my best to get back there next year."

USA's Megan Rapinoe is voted the Feminin Ballon d'Or! She is not present in Paris, however, to accept the award. A bit of an anti-climax with no real build-up to the announcement to the women's award. A short montage with the shortlisted 10 nominees was followed by the announcement from Drogba. England's Lucy Bronze and USA's Alex Morgan finish 2nd and 3rd.

The countdown continues... 7. Alisson, 6. Kylian Mbappe 5. Mohamed Salah That means Mane will finish above Salah.

And the winner is.... Alisson Becker of Liverpool and Brazil. "You always make our lives difficult for sure and makes us to work harder. I don't feel lucky but I am grateful. I want to thank my teammates and Liverpool staff. Thank you very much."

And to give out the award, they bring out Robert Lewandowski, who has scored 28 goals in Bundesliga and DFB Pokal... Surely there's a joke somewhere there. Drogba asks him if he is here to 'ask for forgiveness' to the 'keepers.

The next award of the night is "Trophee Yachine"- The Yachine Trophy, best goalkeeper's award, for the first time at tonight's Ballon d'Or gala in Paris. Lev Ivanovich Yashin, regarded as one of the greatest goalkeeper in the world, is the only goalkeeper till date to have won the Ballon d'Ór award. He won it in 1963.

We have the rankings from 10-8. 10. Riyad Mahrez, 9. Bernardo Silva, 8. Robert Lewandowski

Mbappe gives it away this time to... Juventus' Matthijs de Ligt. The centre-back says: "It's a big honour for me to be here. I want to thank Ajax's support, Juventus, my family and girlfriend. Proud to achieve this." Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Atletico's Joao Felix finished second and third.

The ceremony starts with the  first award of the evening. The Trophee Kopa-football award presented to the best performing player under the age of 21. Last year's winner was Kylian Mbappe.

2018 winner Luka Modric on how the Ballon d'Or impacted his career: "It was a dream come true for me. It's special for every footballer. I stayed the same, lot of people are expecting a lot from me since then. But I continue to do the same things I did before."

Drogba cheekily points out that 'someone is missing' at the arena. Hint: Juventus' No. 7

The final 10 nominees are: Robert Lewandowski, Riyad Mahrez, Lionel Messi, Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane, Bernardo Silva, Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mohamed Salah

We are just moments away from the start of the ceremony. Former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba will be our host alongside Sandy Hertbert. Drogba is re-creating his familiar goal-celebration while speaking French.

Norway's Ada Hagerberg, who won the first-ever Feminin Ballon d'Or award last year, may not be the front-runner in the race this year. World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe is the favourite with her team-mate Alex Morgan and England's Lucy Bronze closely behind her. Hegerberg skipped the summer's World Cup in protest of the state of football in her country.

Look who's arrived at the red carpet! Van Dijk has also followed him. Will Ronaldo make it to the event tonight? He opted to skip last year's ceremony, where Luka Modric won the crown. According to a report, it will be another no-show from the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

Meanwhile, have your say on who will be voted the women's Ballon d'Or winner tonight?

 

ICYMI, Here are the rankings between 11 and 30 in the men's Ballon d'Or voting list

11: Frenkie De Jong, 12: Raheem Sterling, 13: Eden Hazard, 14: Kevin De Bruyne, 15: Matthijs de Ligt, 16: Sergio Aguero, 17: Roberto Firmino, 18: Antoine Griezmann, 19: Trent Alexander-Arnold, 20: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Dusan Tadic, 22: Son Heung-Min, 23: Hugo Lloris, 24: Kalidou Koulibaly, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, 26: Karim Benzema, Georgino Wignaldum, 28: Joao Felix, Marquinhos, Donny van de Beek

 

We have the final 20 and now we are down to 1-10. As we wait for the final countdown, the red carpet is underway in Paris.

Barcelona's midfielder Frenkie de Jong is ranked 11th after his stellar season at Ajax and helping Netherlands to the UEFA Nations League final.

England and City forward Raheem Sterling is ranked 12th. The season of Raheem: what a phenomenal form he is having for both club and country. From the start of 2019-20 season, Sterling has recorded 23 goals and 3 assists in 27 matches.

REAL MADRID's Eden Hazard is voted 13th best in the world. I am just going to leave it there without any comment.

City's Kevin de Bruyne finishes 14th. I wonder how his 2018-19 season would have turned out if he remained injury free. City could have had a real crack at the Champions League.

One of my colleague reckons this is the year of Virgil van Dijk to win the Ballon d'Or. If he does, that would be something. The first defender to take the crown in 13 years after Italy's Fabio Cannavaro. What do you think? Have your say here

 

The world's second-most expensive defender Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) finishes 15th on the back of his impressive campaign at former club Ajax.

Sergio Aguero, who fired Manchester City to a second successive Premier League crown and a domestic treble, is voted 16th best. Four other City players are set to finish in the top half of the nominees.

'Dazzling Bobby' Roberto Firmino finishes 17th. Ever the selfless forward, Firmino is a crucial part of the fabled Liverpool strike trio of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

France's Antoine Griezmann, who has had an underwhelming start to life at Barcelona, finishes 18th. Just five goals for Blaugrana and after a below-par season at Atletico, one could make a case that he didn't deserve to make the final 20 cut let alone finish 18th. He has scored four times for France this year.

Voted 19th is Trent Alexander-Arnold. The 21-year-old, who won the Champions League last season, makes a strong argument that he is currently the best right-back in the world.

Joining Aubameyang on 20th is Ajax playmaker Dusan Tadic, who was an integral part in the Dutch side's run to the Champions League semifinal. Blimey! His numbers are stunning in the ongoing Eredivise season: 7 goals, 12 assists in 15 games... Now would be a good time to remind you that Tadic struck 38 goals in 56 matches <insert fire emojis> across competitions for Ajax last season.

Spurs' North London rival and Arsenal's newly appointed skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is voted 20th in the world. He has 14 goals so far in the 2019-20 season.

Lloris' club teammate Heung-min Son finishes above on 22nd! An early contender for a contentious voting call? The South Korean led his side to a Champions League final and has had a brilliant individual start to the ongoing season with 12 goals and 7 assists.

France's skipper Hugo Lloris (Tottenham Hotspur), whose season was curtailed due to a broken hand injury, finishes 23rd.

German goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen, who was impenetrable in the 1-0 win for Barcelona at Atletico Madrid last night, finishes joint 24th with Senegal defender Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli).

An upturn in form with club side Real Madrid, 18 goals in 25 matches in the new season, sees Karim Benzema finish 26th alongside Netherlands' Gerginio Wijnaldum, who helped Liverpool win the Champions League.

There is a three-way tie for the 28th place -- Brazil's Marquinhos (PSG), Netherlands' Donny van de Beek (Ajax) and Portuhal's Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid).

Alrighty, then. The countdown to the best footballer of the year has begun.

Here are the male nominees for the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

PlayersTeam
Virgil van DijkLiverpool
Bernardo SilvaManchester City
Son Heung-minTottenham Hotspur
Robert LewandowskiBayern Munich
Roberto FirminoLiverpool
AlissonLiverpool
Matthijs de LigtFmr Ajax, Juventus
Karim BenzemaReal Madrid
Georginio WijnaldumLiverpool
Sergio AgueroManchester City
Frenkie de JongFmr Ajax, Barcelona
Hugo LlorisTottenham Hotspur
Dusan TadicAjax
Cristiano RonaldoJuventus
Kylian MbappeParis Saint-Germain
Trent Alexander-ArnoldLiverpool
Donny van de BeekAjax
Pierre-Emerick AubameyangArsenal
Marc-Andre ter StegenBarcelona
Sadio ManeLiverpool
Lionel MessiBarcelona
Riyad MahrezManchester City
Kevin de BruyneManchester City
Kalidou KoulibalyNapoli
Antoine GriezmannFmr Atletico Madrid and Barcelona
Mohamed SalahLiverpool
Eden HazardFmr Chelsea and Real Madrid
MarquinhosParis Saint-Germain
Raheem SterlingManchester City
Joao FelixFmr Benfico and Atletico Madri