Best in the world: Lionel Messi and Megan Rapinoe win FIFA player of the year awards at Milan gala (VIDEO)
Argentina ace Lionel Messi and American soccer icon Megan Rapinoe claimed the awards for the best male and female player in the world at The Best FIFA Football Awards in Milan, Italy.
Messi was named the winner of the prestigious men's award after another impressive season with Barca as he helped the Catalan side to a dominant domestic season that saw them claim the La Liga title by 11 points.
He also shone in European competition, netting 12 times in the UEFA Champions League to finish the season as the competition's top goalscorer.
Remarkably for a man who has been at the top of the game throughout the last decade, Messi's win at The Best FIFA Awards represented his first win of the big award since 2015.
Some believed Liverpool's defensive colossus Van Dijk would take the honors this year after winning UEFA's equivalent award.
But with the Argentinian returning to the top of the game once again, the remarkable dominance of the Messi-Ronaldo axis returned to FIFA's awards, with the Best Men's Player award being won by either Messi or Ronaldo each year since 2007, bar just one – last season, when Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric surprisingly won the award.
United States co-captain and women's soccer icon Rapinoe capped off a stellar year by winning the women's award.
Rapinoe pipped US Women's National Team colleague Alex Morgan and England Lionesses star Lucy Bronze to win the award, and gave an impassioned speech against racism, inequality and homophobia in football.
She then went on to call upon the big-name figures among the audience to use their respective platforms to help change the world for the better.Also on rt.com 'You need to do better': U.S. soccer captain Megan Rapinoe sends message to Donald Trump (VIDEO)