Lionel Messi received the Ballon d'Or trophy from 2018 winner Luka Modric on Tuesday (AEDT), with the Real Madrid midfielder then congratulating Barcelona's forward on social media.
Modric ended Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's 10-year duopoly on the prestigious prize last year having helped Croatia reach the FIFA World Cup final after winning a third successive UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid.
It was Messi's turn to win the award again this year, though, as he claimed a record sixth Ballon d'Or, having scored 41 goals in 44 club appearances so far across the calendar year.
Messi was La Liga's top scorer in 2018-19 as Barcelona beat Real Madrid to the title, though that did not stop Modric praising a star on the other side of the Clasico divide.
"Sports and football are not just about winning, they're also about respect for your teammates and rivals," he wrote on his social media accounts alongside a picture of him handing Messi the award.