Sport | Football

Messi wins World Player of the Year award for fourth year running

The award came after a year in which the Barcelona player scored a record-breaking 91 goals for club and country

  • Agencies
  • Published: 23:08 January 7, 2013

  • Image Credit: AP
  • Argentina`s Lionel Messi, left, and US Abby Wambach, right, pose with their trophies after winning the World Player of the Year Awards during the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2013 held at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, Switzerland, Monday, January 7, 2013.

Zurich:  Argentina's Lionel Messi, still only 25, won the World Player of the Year award for an unprecedented fourth year running on Monday.

The award came after a year in which the Barcelona player scored a record-breaking 91 goals for club and country.

Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo was second in the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or award and Messi's Barcelona team mate Andres Iniesta was third.

Messi was voted FIFA Player of the Year in 2009 before picking up the new-look award in 2010 and 2011 after it was fused with the Ballon d'Or award previously handed out by France Football magazine.

Brazilian Ronaldo and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane both won the old FIFA award three times, although neither did so in successive years, while Michel Platini won the France Football award three times successively in the 1980s.

Earlier, Spain handler Vicente del Bosque was named coach of the year for 2012, seeing off competition from Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola at a FIFA gala in Zurich.

World and European champion Del Bosque won the honour for the first time having lost out to Mourinho two years earlier.

"It is an honour to represent Spanish football and the Spanish national side," said Del Bosque. "I thank all the players - they make us (the coaches) better."

Six Spaniards meanwhile made the team of the year for 2012 unveiled at a FIFA gala in Zurich on Monday, while of the 11 selected, Barcelona and Real Madrid provided five each.

The 'Dream Team' as selected by FIFPro, the players' union, saw Atletico Madrid's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao the only player to play for another club selected as La Liga made a clean sweep.

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas made it despite being recently dropped by his club, marshalling a defence comprising Brazilians Dani Alves of Barca and Real's Marcelo with Real's Sergio Ramos and the Catalan club's Gerard Pique in central defence.

Barca and Spain pair Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were selected in midfield along with Real Madrid strongman Xabi Alonso, with Argentine superstar Lionel Messi, Ballon d'Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Falcao in a three-pronged attack.

Spain had six players in the 2011 line-up while Barca had five and Real four.

Losing out compared with the 2011 selection were Manchester United pair Nemanja Vidic of Serbia and England striker Wayne Rooney, replaced this time by Marcelo and Falcao.

Comments (1)

  1. Added 11:37 January 8, 2013

    I have been following football since i was kid and its the only game i have a passion for and mostly played. Readers might agree with me I have two most favourite players of their time, both from Argentina. Not missing out the legendary Diego Maradona and now Messi. I always used to have a debate with my friends from Spain who used to claim that Real Madrid and Ronaldo are the best. My point was Barca and Lionel Messi and he has proven us right for the fourth consecutive year. May Allah keep him healthy and scoring for all his fans.

    Mazhar Bangash, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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