Lionel Messi walked away with a record sixth Ballon d'Or title on Monday night, but it has now been revealed that more nations voted for Virgil van Dijk as their first choice for the award.
Messi was crowned the world's best player at the annual Ballon d'Or ceremony after beating off competition from Liverpool defender Van Dijk and long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
The award was voted by leading journalists from around the world, who were each asked to select a top five for this year's Golden Ball. France Football, the hosts of the award, have since released the full list of votes, and a surprising revelation emerged from the numbers.
According to the comprehensive list of votes, Van Dijk was selected as the number one choice by journalists from 69 nations, the most for any player, and eight more than winner Messi received.
The Dutchman, who starred for the Reds and the Netherlands in 2019, ultimately fell just seven points shy of the FC Barcelona star, due to fewer nominations in the other four positions, earning 679 voting points to Messi's tally of 686.
Click through the gallery below to see the top 15 in the final 2019 Ballon d'Or ranking!
Ronaldo and Sadio Mane, who ended third and fourth, respectively, were nominated for the top spot by 17 journalists each.
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