sport news Lionel Messi wins record sixth Ballon d'Or as he edges out Liverpool's Virgil ...

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Lionel Messi wins record SIXTH Ballon d'Or as he edges out Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk... with Cristiano Ronaldo snubbing Paris ceremony

By Nathan Salt For Mailonline

Published: 20:32 GMT, 2 December 2019 | Updated: 20:51 GMT, 2 December 2019

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Lionel Messi's career-long dual with Cristiano Ronaldo took another fascinating turn as the Barcelona star won his sixth Ballon d'Or award. 

The Argentine, who attended with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and his two sons Thiago and Mateo, went into the evening in Paris level with Ronaldo on five Ballon d'Or awards each but now stands alone with six. 

He had all of his sixth golden balls on stage and Messi could not contain his joy as he posed for photographs with each of them.   

Lionel Messi received a record sixth Ballon d'Or award at a ceremony in Paris on Monday night

Messi (middle) posed with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo (second from left), sons Thiago (bottom row, middle) and Mateo (bottom row, second from left), Bulgarian icon Hristo Stoichkov (far left), Barcelona team-mate Frenkie de Jong (far right) and his girlfriend Mikky Kiemeney

Messi (middle) posed with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo (second from left), sons Thiago (bottom row, middle) and Mateo (bottom row, second from left), Bulgarian icon Hristo Stoichkov (far left), Barcelona team-mate Frenkie de Jong (far right) and his girlfriend Mikky Kiemeney

Messi triumphed in La Liga - the 10th time he has conquered the league with Barcelona

Messi triumphed in La Liga - the 10th time he has conquered the league with Barcelona

Messi's win takes him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who chose not to attend the evening

Messi's win takes him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who chose not to attend the evening

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk arrived in a tuxedo alongside his wife Rike Nooitgedagt (left) 

Messi edged out Liverpool centre back Virgil van Dijk who was unlucky not to win the award after lifting the Champions League, the Super Cup and UEFA's Player of the Year award.   

The 32-year-old was an overwhelming favourite with bookmakers after a leaked document appeared to crown Messi as the recipient of the award in the hours prior to the ceremony. 

There was surprise a year ago when he ranked fifth but after another impressive season leading Barcelona, there was a sense of inevitability he would claim a record-breaking sixth award.  

Messi (right) was presented with a director's chair that had his name on the back in gold

Messi (right) was presented with a director's chair that had his name on the back in gold

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