It was a night of mixed fortunes for Liverpool as defender Virgil van Dijk was pipped to the 2019 Ballon d'Or by record-six-time winner Lionel Messi, as Alisson Becker was crowned the world's best goalkeeper in Paris on Monday.
But after transforming Jurgen Klopp's back line since his arrival at Anfield in December 2017, runner up Van Dijk must wonder what more he has to do to clinch top spot.
He said: 'It shows a lot about how my career has been. My career has been different from the winner here, I came late, but I never gave up on my dreams.
Lionel Messi received a record sixth Ballon d'Or award at a ceremony in Paris on Monday night
The 32-year-old is standing alone in the all-time list with six, his first Ballon d'Or since 2015
Having been announced as winner, Messi went on stage to pose with all six of his Ballon d'Ors
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's win takes him one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, who chose not to attend the evening
'I had to work hard every step of the way, so to be here makes me very proud. And I want to work hard and be here again next year.'
The number of votes each player received will not be made public until Wednesday, according to France Football, and so it as yet remains unclear how close Van Dijk was to Messi in the standings.
Brazilian Becker, who was instrumental in Liverpool's UEFA Champions League campaign, picked up the Yashin Trophy at the glittering ceremony staged this year at the Theatre du Chatelet – seeing off Premier League competition from Kepa Arrizabalaga, Ederson and Hugo Lloris.
The prestigious annual awards presented by France Football - that has been dominated by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for much of the last decade – the latter coincidentally snubbing the ceremony with the golden gong Barcelona bound again for the first time since 2015.
Messi triumphed in La Liga - the 10th time he has conquered the league with Barcelona
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk arrived in a tuxedo alongside his wife Rike Nooitgedagt (left)
Messi (right) was presented with a director's chair that had his name on the back in gold
Messi, 32, took home the golden gong in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, and has featured among the top three finalists more times (11) than any other player. And despite an injury hit 2018-19 campaign, he has netted nine times in seven games throughout October and November.
Reports in the Spanish press claimed the Argentina international had been tipped off about his win ahead of the glittering ceremony in the French capital, hence arriving on Barcelona's private jet to collect the accolade, with his wife Antonella Roccuzzo and two children excitedly watching on.
Speaking in the midst of a world media circus and tightly clutching his award, Messi said: 'I am very grateful to the people of Barcelona and all the affection they show to me. It's a special day and this award means so much and I am very happy.
'The truth is that the routine doesn't allow me much time to stop and think and enjoy all that we have achieved. I will enjoy it today and