FIFA Ballon D’Or Awards

Lionel Messi, FIFA Ballon D’Or Award Winner

FIFA Ballon D’Or Awards

Argentina and Barcelona FC forward, Lionel Mecci, was awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2011. A third consecutive FIFA World Player of the Year awards clearly marks out Messi as the best footballer of his time.

“It’s a huge pleasure for me,” Messi said, after accepting the trophy from another three-time winner, former Brazil forward Ronaldo. “It’s the third time I get this award, and it’s a huge honor.”

Barcelona won five trophies last year including the Champions League, Spanish League and Club World Cup with Messi's help.

Lionel Messi is the world’s top footballer, playing for the top soccer club in the world.

Messi is the first man to win three straight FIFA world player awards in the honor’s 21-year history.

Zinedine Zidane also won three FIFA player awards.

Awards were given based upon points in votes cast by national team coaches and captains plus invited journalists from an original shortlist of 23 players.

“This one is very special because I want to share this with my friend and teammate Xavi . He deserves it,” Messi said.

Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola was chosen ahead of Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho and Alex Ferguson of Manchester United.    

A major international tournament victory is next for Messi.

Guardiola and Ferguson agreed at an earlier news conference that Messi should be rated alongside legends such as Pele, Diego Maradona and Alfredo di Stefano.

“Now he can sit beside them. It’s a huge award, no?” Guardiola said.

FIFA’s world player honor merged last year with the Ballon d’Or trophy awarded by France Football magazine since 1956.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for three consecutive years.   

Messi was outscored by Ronaldo in the Spanish League last 40 to 31 last campaign. 

Xavi described his gifted teammate as “one of the best footballers in the history of the sport.”

“He’s still young. I think he’s probably going to break all the records that exist in the sport,” Xavi said.

Brazil forward Neymar got the prize for most beautiful goal.

Sir Alex Ferguson received the FIFA presidential award from Sepp Blatter to recognize his 25 years as manager at Manchester United.

“Since 2001 the Presidential Award has been given to a person or institution that has made a superlative contribution to football without seeking to monopolise the limelight. The Presidential Award may be conferred in honour of one special event or a lifetime of service, or for an exemplary attitude.”

“It is an honor for it to be given me in the twilight of my life,” said the 70-year-old Scot, who has won 12 English League and two Champions League trophies.  

The Japan Football Association received FIFA’s Fair Play award for its response to a devastating earthquake and tsunami last March. Japan hosted Barcelona’s Club World Cup victory in December. 

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was selected as top goalkeeper.  

Award winners were chosen entirely of Barcelona, Madrid and Man United players.

The eleven players that made up the ‘FIFA World XI’ came from just three clubs: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and United. In 2011, Rooney scored 31 goals and contributed 15 assists while United captain Vidic was arguably the best defender in the world prior to his recent season-ending injury.

Here is a list of the winners for each of the individual football awards:

* Men’s Ballon d’Or: Lionel Messi (Barcelona | Argentina)

* Women’s Ballon d’Or: Homare Sawa (INAC Leonessa | Japan)

* Men’s Coach of the Year: Pep Guardiola (Barcelona)

* Women’s Coach of the Year: Norio Sasaki (Japan)

* FIFA Puskas Award (Best goal): Neymar (Santos | Brazil)

* FIFA Fair Play Award: Japan Football Association

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