Lionel Messi Finishes In 5th Place In Ballon d'Or Voting

Lionel Messi Finishes In 5th Place In Ballon d'Or Voting

There are 30 candidates on the shortlist for the male award, including 11 Premier League players, Lionel Messi and current holder Cristiano Ronaldo.

For the first time, France Football is also giving out a women's Ballon d'Or award in addition to the Kopa Trophy, named for French great Raymond Kopa and given to the world's best player under 21.

Messi is credited with 45 goals and 23 assists in 50 matches in 2018.

Lyon's Ada Hegerberg was crowned the first ever female Ballon d'Or victor but the moment became shrouded in controversy when French DJ Martin
Solveig - who was helping host the gala alongside David Ginola - asked the Norwegian to "twerk". The Portuguese ended up as runner-up, while Messi was not even in the top three.

The 33-year-old was instrumental as Real clinched a third successive Champions League trophy last season. I want to thank my teammates and coaches at Real Madrid and those with the national team.

FRANCK FIFE  AFP
FRANCK FIFE AFP

As decided by France Football, the eminent magazine, criteria for Ballon d'Or selection are: individual and collective performances (honours) in 2018; player's class (skills and fair play); and player's career.

After collecting her Ballon d'Or, Hegerberg told The Associated Press she has no plans to reconsider her decision taken to preserve her "authenticity and my values, as a person, as a footballer".

There was controversy when Hegerberg was asked by co-host Martin Solveig if she knew how to "twerk", to which she replied "No", and he later apologised for any offence caused. "A little disappointed [to miss out on the Ballon d'Or] but it was a big night to celebrate the winners so I had to be there".

'It's hard to find the words to express how I feel, ' Modric said. "This was a joke probably a bad one, I want to apologise to the one I offended, sorry about that". I didn't really think about it at the time to be honest.

Under the current format, the list of nominees is drawn up by weekly magazine France Football, with journalists from around the world voting on the final victor.

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