The winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or will be announced next Monday, but it has now been claimed that name of the 2019 Golden Ball winner has already been leaked.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Lionel Messi has been told he will win the illustrious award, which would make it his record-breaking sixth Ballon d’Or.
A team from France Football reportedly travelled to Barcelona to inform the Argentine of his victory, even though the official gala will only be held on 2 December.
The editorial team is understood to have met Messi for an interview and to take cover photos, which will appear in France Football’s print magazine on the day after the official announcement.
Messi, who was named The Best FIFA Men’s Player earlier this year, is one of the favourites for the 2019 Golden Ball, alongside longstanding rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk, who won UEFA’s Player of the Year accolade in August.
If the reports are true, the 32-year-old Blaugrana talisman would become the first player in history to lift the award six times.
Messi won it in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, while Ronaldo lifted it in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017.