Now 34, Lionel Messi pipped much-fancied rivals like Robert Lewandowski and Karim Benzema to take the award in a glittering ceremony on Monday in Paris, the city he now calls home after leaving boyhood club Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in August.
Spain’s Alexia Putellas took the women’s award.
Messi also won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and in 2015.
Midfielder Jorginho, who won the Champions League with Chelsea and Euro 2020 with Italy, came third, followed by Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and another Chelsea player, N’Golo Kante.
Five-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo came sixth. He was absent from the ceremony.
Between them, Messi and Ronaldo have won 12 of the last 13 editions of the Ballon d’Or with the exception coming in 2018 when Luka Modric claimed the prize.
Based on Ballon d’Or parameters, these are the top men’s and women’s ten best players in the world.
Men’s Ballon d’Or top 10
1. Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona)
2. Robert Lewandowski (POL/Bayern Munich)
3. Jorginho (ITA/Chelsea)
4. Karim Benzema (FRA/Real Madrid)
5. N’Golo Kante (FRA/Chelsea)
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Juventus – Manchester United)
7. Mohamed Salah (EGY/Liverpool)
8. Kevin De Bruyne (BEL/Manchester City)
9. Kylian Mbappe (FRA/Paris SG)
10. Gianluigi Donnarumma (ITA/AC Milan – Paris SG)
Women’s Ballon d’Or top 10
1. Alexia Putellas (ESP/Barcelona)
2. Jennifer Hermoso (ESP/Barcelona)
3. Sam Kerr (AUS/Chelsea)
4. Vivianne Miedema (NED/Arsenal)
5. Lieke Martens(NED/Barcelona)
6. Christine Sinclair (CAN/Portland Storms)
7. Pernille Harder (DAN/Chelsea)
8. Ashley Lawrence (CAN/Paris SG)
9. Jessie Fleming (CAN/Chelsea)
10. Fran Kirby (ENG/Chelsea)