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Lionel Messi wins record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or, and he's always the right choice

The trouble with giving out a prize for the best soccer player of the year is that when the greatest, by some distance, to ever bestride a field is among them, it all becomes a bit monotonous and predictable.

Back in June, Virgil van Dijk sat on the podium for a postgame press conference, his jersey still wet, his long hair frizzy and his Champions League winner’s medal dangling around his neck. He explained casually why he didn’t think he should win any of the prizes for the world’s best player of the season or the year, never mind the campaign he’d just had as the world’s top defender – weeks before he’d lead the Netherlands to the final of the inaugural UEFA Nations League as well.