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 Messi awarded FIFA Player of the Year
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Messi awarded FIFA Player of the Year

Agency News

Rome, Sep 24 : Lionel Messi won the FIFA Men's Player of the Year award on Monday with Megan Rapinoe, who spearheaded the United States Women's World Cup title, pocketing the women's prize.

Barcelona striker Messi edged out Virgil Van Dijk, who won the UEFA player's award last month after helping Liverpool to the Champions League last season. Juventus's forward Cristiano Ronaldo had also been shortlisted for the award, but did not attend the ceremony.

Both Messi, 32, and Van Dijk, 28, are now in the running for the coveted Ballon d'Or which will be announced on December 2. Rapinoe beat fellow World Cup winner Alex Morgan and England's Lucy Bronze to the women's title, with US coach Jill Ellis winning women's coaching award.

The 34-year-old Rapinoe won the Golden Boot for being top scorer and the Golden Ball for the best player at the World Cup. Messi was top scorer in the Champions League last season with 12 goals before Barcelona were dumped out by Liverpool in the semifinals, Barca throwing away a three-goal first-leg lead with a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Anfield.

The Argentine also won the European Golden Shoe after scoring 36 goals, won La Liga title with Barcelona and helped Argentina to bronze at 2019 Copa America.

Van Dijk had been bidding to become just the second defender -- after Italian Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 -- to be recognized by FIFA as the world's best player.

Klopp won the Champions League with Liverpool ahead of two other Premier League coaches -- Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino, who reached the European final, and Manchester City's Pep Guardiola.(XINHUA)