'Choosing between Messi and Ronaldo is like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal'

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Rapinoe was not present at the ceremony in Paris to collect football's most prestigious individual accolad.

It was the sixth Ballon d'Or award for Messi, who was followed in the ranks by Virgil Van Dijk, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Sadio Mané.

The 32-year-old, who lifted the trophy in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, beat Liverpool's Champions League victor Virgil van Dijk in a vote of global journalists.

"If you have to give it to the best, let's just give it to Messi and the problem is solved", Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said ahead of the match. I am going to be there for a reason and there are no losers on the evening. But I think there have been a lot of great players this year.

'But I think there have been a lot of great players this year.

"There's going to be a victor but there are no losers". Frenkie de Jong and Arthur started alongside Rakitic in midfield, and we could see those two retain their places in the Barcelona midfield. Michael Hincks was at the Wanda Metropolitano to watch the Argentine produce the goods once more on the eve of the Ballon d'Or announcement. But I chose Sadio Mane because he's a player that I like. Bernardo Silva, 10. Riyad Mahrez.

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The former Real Madrid star was also named in the Serie A Team of the Year alongside team-mates Joao Cancelo (ex-Juventus now Manchester City), Giorgio Chiellini and Miralem Pjanic.

Lionel Messi is the major favourite to make history by becoming the first player to clinch a sixth such accolade, moving clear of fellow five-time victor Cristiano Ronaldo in the all-time rankings.

England's Lucy Bronze, Holland striker Vivianne Miedema and Sam Kerr of Australia are among the other players shortlisted.

But Messi took matters into his own hands with another trademark goal from range, before Suarez capped a fine piece of team play by back-heeling in from eight yards.

Messi is the current betting favourite and, according to the image, he will best Van Dijk with 446 points to the Dutchman's 382. "These are all things which worry us much more than who will be first at Christmas and what it means".