Rapinoe beats Kerr to Ballon d'Or award

Barcelona's Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or for a record sixth time.
Barcelona's Argentina forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or for a record sixth time.

Lionel Messi won a record sixth Ballon d'Or title on Monday as United States midfielder Megan Rapinoe won the women's equivalent, beating Australia's Sam Kerr to the coveted global award.

The 34-year-old US captain was the driving force behind the team retaining the women's World Cup in France and claiming a record-extending fourth world title in July.

Barcelona star and Argentina captain Lionel Messi has now won one Ballon d'O title more than Juventus rival Christiano Ronaldo.

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

Messi won Spain's Liga title with Barca this year and led Argentina to third place at the Copa America in July.

Rapinoe scored six goals in the tournament, earning her the Golden Boot as the top scorer and the Golden Ball as the top player.

The award is based on a vote by international journalists.

Kerr, who recently signed for Chelsea in England's Super League, scored a bagful of goals in the NWSL this season.

She was rewarded for her prolific goalscoring form by being named captain of the Matildas and went on to become the first Australian player - male or female - to score a hattrick at a World Cup.

Kerr's five goals at this year's World Cup left her behind only England's Ellen White and Americans Rapinoe and Alex Morgan

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 in the world following a vote of international journalists.

Alisson Becker, one of 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.

Australian Associated Press