Lionel Messi will beat Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo to Ballon d’Or, Spanish media reports

Lionel Messi

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi will win the 2019 Ballon d'Or next Monday, according to reports in Spain.

The Argentina international has already claimed the award on five occasions and will add a sixth gong to his collection in Paris next week, write Mundo Deportivo.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk are also in the running for the prestigious prize.

Van Dijk remains the bookmakers' favourite after a year in which he inspired the Reds to Champions League glory and a club-record 97 points in the Premier League.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Messi is the best player of his generation but insists that his centre-back deserves to come out on top at the 64th ceremony of the Ballon d'Or.

Van Dijk is expected to be Messi's closest challenger, but it is thought that the 32-year-old secured a sufficient number of votes for victory before the deadline on November 9.

Messi won the 10th La Liga title of his career last term, scoring 36 goals and providing 13 assists in 36 top-flight outings for Barca.

He also found the net 12 times in the Champions League, helping the Catalan giants reach the semi-finals.

Ernesto Valverde's side suffered an ignominious 4-0 defeat by Liverpool to throw away a three-goal advantage from the first leg of their last-four clash, but Messi did all he could to earn the Blaugrana a place in the final.

He also suffered a semi-final exit at the Copa America, where Argentina were beaten by hosts Brazil in a hot-tempered affair in Belo Horizonte.

Messi was named The Best FIFA Men's Player of 2019 in September, edging out Van Dijk by eight points and Ronaldo by 10.

The Barcelona captain has scored eight goals and set up another five in La Liga so far this season.

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