In other awards, Dutchman Matthijs de Ligt, a key player in Ajax Amsterdam's thrilling run to the Champions League semifinals and now at Juventus, won the Kopa trophy for the best Under-21 male player in the world following a vote of global journalists.
"It was an unbelievable year, but there's a couple of players like that who are a bit unnatural", the Dutchman said. "There are no losers on that evening.
I am very proud to be in that bracket, be in there for the way I performed with the team previous year and also with the country".
"It is just something to be proud of because not a lot of players go there and are up for these kind of things".
Messi is the current betting favourite and, according to the image, he will best Van Dijk with 446 points to the Dutchman's 382.
After a quiet start, Liverpool were looking rampant and Mat Ryan made a trio of fine stops as Sadio Mane laid on two chances for Roberto Firmino before being denied himself.
Messi won the award for a record sixth time at the awards ceremony on Monday night.
"So yes, he's incredibly important but if Virgil played the last line alone it would be pretty hard". Messi was again at the forefront as he bagged a 52-goal haul during the calendar year, as well as 26 assists, in 61 games for club and country.
But former Liverpool captain Gerrard thinks Van Dijk should be crowned the best player in world football at the event sponsored by France Football. That is Lionel. Best player of last season? "We will see", Klopp added.
City's 2-2 draw at Newcastle United earlier on Saturday gave Jurgen Klopp's men the chance to extend their healthy lead over last season's champions to 11 points, a task they looked set to complete easily after Virgil van Dijk scored twice inside 24 minutes at Anfield.
The yearly Ballon d'Or awards that the best footballer on the planet and is frequently believed to be the most respectable authority in discovering the best player on earth.
A total of 30 candidates are nominated for the award, organized by France Football and voted for by 180 journalists from around the world.