Follow live coverage of the 2019 Ballon d’Or ceremony from Paris tonight. Lionel Messi is the favourite to take home the men’s award after a glittering season with Barcelona where he picked up yet another La Liga crown. Virgil van Dijk is his nearest challenger after playing a central role in Liverpool’s sixth European Cup win back in June. Don’t rule out Cristiano Ronaldo, however, who is also in contention after another goal-filled year.
Van Dijk is one of seven Liverpool players on the shortlist along with goalkeeper Alisson Becker, defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and forwards Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. Premier League champions Manchester City have five players nominated including Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling with Tottenham duo Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min also featuring. Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also makes the shortlist, as does former Chelsea star, now of Real Madrid, Eden Hazard.
Megan Rapinoe is favourite to claim the women’s award after starring in the United States’ World Cup win but Lucy Bronze of England is also in contention after another Champions League win with Lyon. Lionesses teammate Ellen White joins her on the list. Awards for the best Under-21 player and best goalkeeper will also be handed out for the 64th edition of this famous ceremony. We’ll have all the latest throughout the day right here.
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Netherlands international Van Dijk, already Uefa Player of the Year, came second to Messi in the voting for Fifa World Player of the Year in September.
The 28-year-old said: “I am going to have a look at what it is about. I am going to be there for a reason and there are no losers on the evening.
“I am very proud to be in that bracket, to be in there for the way I performed with the team last year and also with the country.
“It is just something to be proud of because not a lot of players go there and are up for these kind of things.
“There’s going to be a winner but there are no losers. We will see what happens.”