File photo taken on Dec. 2, 2019 shows the Men's 2019 Ballon d'Or winner Barcelona forward Lionel Messi posing with six Ballon d'Or trophies he won in his career so far during the ceremony at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France. The 32-year-old Argentina and Barcelona forward was voted FIFA Men's Player in the Year on September 23. He also won the Ballon d'Or on December 2, becoming the first footballer in history to win the award six times. (Photo by Aurelien Morissard/Xinhua)
BEIJING, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) -- As the sporting year draws to a close, here is Xinhua News Agency's selection of the world's top 10 athletes in 2019:
1. Lionel Messi (Argentina, football)
The 32-year-old Argentina and Barcelona forward was voted FIFA Men's Player in the Year on September 23. He also won the Ballon d'Or on December 2, becoming the first footballer in history to win the award six times.
2. Zhu Ting (China, volleyball)
Captain Zhu led China to glory in the FIVB Women's World Cup in September, and became the first player ever to be named MVP in consecutive tournaments. Earlier this year, the 25-year-old also helped her club VakifBank Istanbul win the Turkish league title, and was also voted that competition's MVP.
3. Rafael Nadal (Spain, tennis)
Nadal, 33, won a record-extending 12th French Open in 2019. The Spaniard also won this year's U.S. Open and now has 19 Grand Slam titles, just one shy of Roger Federer's record.
4. Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya, athletics)
On October 12, 35-year-old world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge became the first person to complete the marathon distance in under two hours, finishing the 42.195km run in Vienna in an unofficial time of one hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds.
5. Lewis Hamilton (United Kingdom, motor racing)
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton was crowned Formula 1 world champion for the sixth time this season with 413 points. The 34-year-old Briton is now just one title shy of Michael Schumacher's record of seven.
6. Simone Biles (United States, gymnastics)
22-year-old Biles led the U.S. to their fifth straight world team title at the 2019 FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart. She also won the individual all-around title for a record fifth time to boost her worlds medal total to 25. The American has now surpassed Russia's Svetlana Khorkina and Belarusian Vitaly Scherbo to became the most decorated gymnast, male or female, in the history of the World Championships.
7. Caeleb Remel Dressel (United States, swimming)
Dressel grabbed a record eight medals, including six golds, at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. During the competition, he also broke the world record in the men's 100m butterfly set by compatriot Michael Phelps in August 2009.
8. Megan Rapinoe (United States, football)
Rapinoe led the U.S. to glory at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, and was named FIFA Best Women's Player for 2019. The 34-year-old also won the FIFA Golden Boot and the Golden Ball for most goals and best player respectively at the World Cup. Rapinoe opened the scoring in the U.S.'s 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final, made her the oldest woman to score in a World Cup final.
9. Marc Gasol (Spain, basketball)
Gasol played a pivotal role in Spain's triumph at the FIBA World Cup in September, a few months after he helped the Toronto Raptors win their first NBA championship. The 2.15-meter center was selected in the World Cup's All-Star Team, and along with Lamar Odom, is one of only two players to win an NBA title and the World Cup in the same year.
10. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (Jamaica, athletics)
At the 2019 World Championships in Doha, at the age of 32, Fraser-Pryce became the oldest woman and second mother in history to win gold at the 100m at a global championship. It was her fourth world championship gold medal over the 100m distance.