What did Messi do in 2019? He made the ‘extraterrestrial’ seem ordinary | Sid Lowe

Our 2019 chart-topper is to other footballers like ‘Batman to an average cop’, according to one of the many opponents he tormented even in a relatively lean yearWhen Lionel Messi set off so did Diego Simeone, accompanying the run from the touchline. Drawn into what was unfolding before him, the inevitable conclusion edging closer, Simeone lurched and tensed and stuck his foot out as if willing his defenders to do the same until what he saw coming came. Messi bent the ball into the corner to score another late winner. The Atlético Madrid manager nodded, applauded and shrugged, arms outstretched, palms up, then clapped again: what ya gonna do? The following night Messi collected his sixth Ballon d’Or. “You deserve it,” last year’s winner Luka Modric said simply, handing it over.The vote had been extremely close, Virgil van Dijk seven points behind. The same Van Dijk who after the Champions League final had said: “I don’t think there’s any case [for me]. Messi is the best.” Asked once for his all-time top five, Jürgen Klopp wouldn’t name them all, but said the Argentinian was No 1. This year, he is ours as well. Continue reading…