Argentine Lionel Messi beat Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo to win the best FIFA player of the year award for a record sixth time.
Barcelona striker Messi’s victory was a surprise as he edged out Virgil Van Dijk, who won the UEFA player’s award last month after helping Liverpool to the Champions League last season.
Juventus forward Ronaldo had also been shortlisted for the award, but did not attend the ceremony as he was named in FIFA’s World 11 best team along with Messi.
Both Messi, 32, and Van Dijk, 28, are now in the running for the coveted Ballon d’Or which will be announced on December 2.
“I want to thank those who decided to give me this recognition,” said Messi.
Messi was top scorer in the Champions League last season with 12 goals before Barcelona were dumped out by Liverpool in the semi-finals.
U.S. co-captain Megan Rapinoe won the women’s top award after helping her country to the World Cup title this year in a tournament considered to be a milestone in the development and expansion of women’s football internationally.