Lionel Messi wins record sixth men's Ballon d'Or award

Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth men's Ballon d'Or award on Monday, beating Liverpool's four leading nominees to claim soccer's most prestigious individual trophy. (AP)
Updated 03 December 2019

Lionel Messi wins record sixth men's Ballon d'Or award

  • He beat Virgil van Dijk, the runner-up, and third-placed Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal
  • Megan Rapinoe earlier won the women's Ballon d'Or

PARIS: Lionel Messi claimed a record sixth men's Ballon d'Or award on Monday, beating Liverpool's four leading nominees to claim soccer's most prestigious individual trophy.

The Argentine, who won the Liga title with Barcelona but only managed third place in the Copa America with his country, added to his 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 trophies.

He beat Virgil van Dijk, the runner-up, and third-placed Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, who has won the award five times.

"Ten years ago I received my first Ballon d’Or, guided by my three brothers," Messi told the audience. "Today I receive my sixth, guided by my wife and children."

Senegal's Sadio Mane, who with Van Dijk and fellow nominees Alisson Becker of Brazil and Egypt's Mohamed Salah, helped Liverpool win the Champions League, was fourth in the poll of international journalists.

"It was amazing," said Van Dijk. "There are a couple of players like him (Messi) who are fantastic. I'm proud of what I've achieved with Liverpool and Holland. It's going to be tough (to win the award) when these guys are around."

Messi, whose sterling career was once again rewarded, and Ronaldo, between them had won 10 consecutive Ballon d'Or awards until Croatia's Luka Modric prevailed in 2018.

INCREDIBLE YEAR
Megan Rapinoe earlier won the women's Ballon d'Or after leading the United States to a record-extending fourth World Cup title in France this year as they retained the trophy.

The 34-year-old midfielder, the standout player at the June-July tournament, succeeded Norway's Ada Hegerberg who did not take part in the World Cup.Rapinoe was not present at the ceremony in the Theatre du Chatelet, where the show 'An American In Paris' is on.

"I'm so sad I can't make it tonight. It's absolutely incredible congrats to the other nominees. I can't believe I'm the one winning in this field, it's been an incredible year," Rapinoe said in a recorded message.

"I want to thank my team mates and the U.S. federation."

Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam's thrilling run to the Champions League semi-finals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 male player.

Alisson, one of the four Liverpool players in the top seven for the men's Ballon d'Or, was awarded the new Yashin trophy for the best male goalkeeper of the year.

There was, however, no trophy for the best female Under-21 player or keeper.


DeChambeau shoots 65 to win by 3 strokes

Updated 07 July 2020

DeChambeau shoots 65 to win by 3 strokes

  • DeChambeau shot a 7-under 65 at Detroit Golf Club, birdieing four of the first seven holes

DETROIT: Bryson DeChambeau pounded protein shakes and lifted iron to transform his body, adding 40 pounds of mass, and changed his game to put a premium on power.

The plan is working.

With jaw-dropping drives and some clutch putts, DeChambeau won the Rocket Mortgage Classic by three strokes Sunday for his first victory of the season and sixth overall. He became the first PGA Tour player since 2004 to lead a tournament in driving distance, along with shots gained off the tee and putting.

“This is a little emotional for me because I did do something a little different," the 26-year-old DeChambeau said. “I changed my body, changed my mindset in the game and I was able to accomplish a win while playing a completely different style of golf. And, it’s pretty amazing to see that. I hope it’s an inspiration to a lot of people."

DeChambeau shot a 7-under 65 at Detroit Golf Club, birdieing four of the first seven holes and closing with three straight. He finished at a career-best 23-under 265.

Matthew Wolff (71) was second. He started the day with a three-shot lead and hurt his chances with five bogeys over his first 10 holes. Kevin Kisner (66) finished another stroke back as part of a relatively weak field that continued to trend of exceptional play since the PGA Tour restarted.

“The level of play on tour in these first four weeks has been incredible, cuts at 4 and 5 under every week," Kisner said.

With a strong finish, DeChambeau removed all doubt that he would win the second Rocket Mortgage Classic.

He made a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 16, which he said was his shot of the day. He also had a short putt for birdie on the next hole. And finally, he uncorked a 367-yard drive to set up another short putt at 18.

DeChambeau came into the week with six straight top-eight finishes and was the only player with top 10s in the first three events after the restart from the coronavirus pandemic. He won for the first time since the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November 2018.

DeChambeau has dramatically altered his body, packing about 240 pounds on his 6-foot-1 body, and took advantage of the extra time he had to work on his physique during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“He understands what is the key to gaining the biggest advantage and that’s distance, and mega distance,” Kisner said. “He just has too much time on his hands. He needs to start getting married and having kids and feel like the rest of us."

DeChambeau’s power was on full display in the Motor City with drives that went 351 yards on average after looking like he might swing out of his spikes.

When DeChambeau was on the tee box at the 399-yard, par-4 13th, he waited for the next group to leave the green before hitting his drive so that he didn't hit any fellow competitors.

“No, I've never done that," he acknowledged. “I really could have gotten there."

His drive on the 621-yard, par-5 fourth went way left and landed in greenside rough on an adjacent hole. He cleared towering trees and landed just short of the green, sending his approach 276 yards and he two-putted from 37 feet.

“That was probably my second best moment of the day," DeChambeau said. “I got really quite honestly pretty lucky being able to get over these trees and let it land and roll onto the front edge of the green."