Sept. 24 (UPI) -- United States Women National Team soccer star Megan Rapinoe was named The Best FIFA women's player for 2019 at a ceremony Monday in Milan, Italy.
"This was an incredible year for women's football," Rapinoe said after receiving the award. "For those of you who are just noticing that now, it's OK.
"You are a little late to the party. We'll forgive you. We're just getting started."
Rapinoe, 34, became the second American to win the award. Fellow U.S. women's star Carli Lloyd collected the hardware in 2016. Dutch star Lieke Martens won the women's honor in 2017 and Brazil's Marta in 2018.
"I'm a little bit at a loss for words if you can believe it. That rarely ever happens to me," Rapinoe said.
Rapinoe edged teammate Alex Morgan and Britain's Lucy Bronze for the honor. She tied Morgan and Briton Ellen White with a tournament-leading six goals at the FIFA Women's World Cup this summer, leading the U.S. women's team to a victory in the final. Rapinoe and Morgan also recorded a tournament-best three assists at the World Cup.
Messi notched 36 goals and 15 assists in 35 games last season in La Liga. The five-time Ballon d'Or award winner netted 51 scores and had 22 assists in all games last season. Ronaldo was credited with 28 goals and 10 assists in 43 games in 2018-2019.
"It's a special night for me. I'm lucky to have my wife and two of my three children here with me. It's the first time they're here and to be able to enjoy this with them is unique," Messi said.
Messi, 32, won the award for the first time. The Best award was founded in 2016, and Ronaldo claimed the first award and the second in 2017. Real Madrid's Luka Modric won last year.
Sari van Veenendaal won The Best FIFA Women's Goalkeeper. U.S. women's team manager Jill Ellis won The Best FIFA Women's Coach. The FIFPro Women's World 11 included U.S. women's team stars Rapinoe, Morgan, Julie Ertz, Rose LaVelle and Kelley O'Hara. Bronze, Marta, Nilla Fischer, Wendie Renard and Amandine Henry also made the star-studded women's squad.
Brazil's Alisson won The Best Men's Goalkeeper. Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp won The Best FIFA Men's Coach. The FIFPro Men's World 11 included: Marcelo, Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Sergio Ramos, Frenkie de Jong, Eden Hazard, Kylian Mbappe, Modric, Ronaldo and Messi.