Lionel Messi bags first World Player of the Year hatrick

Published: January 10, 2012
Lionel Messi of Argentina, FIFA World Player of the Year holds his FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 trophy next to singer Shakira during the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 football awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 9, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

Lionel Messi of Argentina, FIFA World Player of the Year holds his FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 trophy next to singer Shakira during the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 football awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 9, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH: Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, still only 24, won the World Player of the Year award for the third time in a row Monday.

Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo was second in the vote for the 2011 FIFA Ballon D’Or and Messi’s Barcelona team mate Xavi third.

Messi, who inspired his Spanish team to win the Champions League, La Liga and Club World Cup, was also first last year when the award was created by joining together the separate annual prizes handed out by FIFA and France Football magazine.

“To win it three times running is a very big honour,” Messi, who also won both old awards in 2009, told the audience after being presented with the trophy by former Brazil striker Ronaldo a three-times World Player of the Year himself.

“I want to share it with the people who helped me, my team mates and coach. This is very special, I want to divide it with my team mate Xavi.”

No player has previously won the FIFA award three times in a row, although Michel Platini claimed the France Football prize three years in succession in the 1980s. Messi though is now ranked along side Brazil legend Luis Ronaldo and former French midfielder Zinedine Zidane for having won the award three-times.

Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola won the coach’s award ahead of Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid.

Ferguson took the FIFA presidential award for outstanding service to the sport.

The ceremony, co-presented by former Netherlands striker Ruud Gullit, also saw Japan’s Homare Sawa voted women’s player of the year, ending a run of five successive wins for Brazil’s Martha.

Brazil and Santos forward Neymar won the award for the goal of the year, a stunning effort in a Brazilian championship match against Flamengo.

Messi swept home with 47.88 per cent to votes in the survey among national team coaches, captains and selected media.

Ronaldo took 21.6 percent and Xavi 9.23 per cent.

“I would like to share this award with Mourinho and Ferguson and all the coaches around the world who love this game,” Guardiola said.

“I also thank the thousands of people through more the 100 years who have worked in football in Barcelona and have developed one of the best clubs in the world.”

Blatter heaped praise on Ferguson before handing him his prize.

“In a world in which coaches are expected to produce instant results or be changed, his longevity is a shining example of what can be achieved through stability, continuity, investment in development and trust and confidence in the personality himself,” said the Swiss, in his fourth mandate as FIFA president.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • sunny mane
    Jan 10, 2012 - 9:08AM

    i think this is all fair and healthy competition………Ballon D’Or winner is messi…..coz he deserves the most…on other hand runner-up cr7 is as good as messi.. but not be able to deliver
    at this stage….same for xavi…who play alongsie messi for barcelona…….
    overall winner is football…because here is top class players, coaching staff, managers, etc etc..
    and good support from fans all over the world…..all this will take football on top of the world..
    so best of luck ronaldo, xavi 4 next time.Thnx 2 supporters to make this happen the most lovely sports..


  • Jan 10, 2012 - 9:18AM

    This is very fairly, I appriciate those people who vote.
    Congutaturations to Lionel MessiRecommend

  • JaySabir
    Jan 10, 2012 - 9:34AM

    Nadal, Pique and now Messi. Wish i was a sportsman too :P


  • Devan Pillay
    Jan 10, 2012 - 11:01AM

    Messi is truly World Class – a Pleasure to see him rise in this beautiful game and with no doubt he will perserve for the 4th title.Recommend

  • melrick
    Jan 10, 2012 - 12:11PM

    messi messi messi the can only be one and i think that he by far the worlds best player.


  • xolani
    Jan 10, 2012 - 1:28PM

    what more can we say, messi messi messi you go boy. i like his attitute and discipline.


  • Jan 10, 2012 - 4:46PM

    l don’t support Spain but l m a soccer fan, when Messi got it last year it wasn’t his but Xavi. Why hate Xavi yet he brought the World Cup @ his home door step. We had Raul the great player of Real Madrid who did nothing for Spain. This tym we ve a talented Xavi and u deny him the Cup. l think you are total biased about Messi and Xavi. May be u want to set new records l don’t know


  • AWA
    Jan 11, 2012 - 10:37AM

    Hatrick MessiRecommend

  • lucy
    Jan 14, 2012 - 12:34AM

    Very handsome


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