By Izuchukwu Okosi

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi was on Monday evening crowned the FIFA The Best award winner for his performances for club and country in the year 2018 at a colourful award night in Italy.

Nominated alongside the Argentine were Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo.

In the end, Messi scooped the prize in the two-hour long event which has divided opinions in the football world.

Despite being arguably the world’s greatest footballer the world ever had (or at least of his generation alone) but based on the performances of the contenders  for their clubs; Barcelona, Liverpool and Juventus, up until the end of last season that culminated in the Copa America, UEFA Nations League and the UEFA Champions League can the pro Messi camp really honestly say Messi was the best of the trio?

Meanwhile the following are accolades that came Messi’s way in the aftermath of the glittering award ceremony courtesy of FIFA.com.

“Indisputably… well it should be. Ronaldo is a wonderful footballer, but Messi’s numbers this year are superior. His play is on another level.”
Gary Lineker

“A new recognition for the best player in football history. Leo, congratulations and thanks for making us feel so proud of you.”
Josep Maria Bartomeu, Barcelona president

“No words needed. Simply The Best. Congrats brother.”
Patrick Kluivert

“The people who vote made a decision and you have to accept it. As players you can’t compare me and Messi because it’s totally different. I’m very proud to be here.”
Virgil van Dijk

“A special night in Milan celebrating our beautiful game, football. A big congratulations to both Messi and Frenkie.”
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen

“It was deserved. Messi had a phenomenal season.”
Wendell Lira, former FIFA Puskás Award winner

“For me, Messi will always be the best player in the world. I’ve made that clear a lot of times.”
Frenkie de Jong

For Rapinoe the nice words also came her way from those who had won the award in the past or were duly recognized as some of the best in the women’s game including former USA star Abby Wambach..

Abby Wambach

✔@AbbyWambach

“Congrats to all three of these women! @mPinoe I’m so proud and happy for you. You all have simply made this game THE most popular and fun to watch EVER! Thank you. Thank you for your sacrifice and thank you for fighting to make the game better and the world better. You inspire me”