Messi wins FIFA Ballon d'Or 2010

Argentine and FC Barcelona forward beats out team-mates Xavi and Iniesta to be crowned FIFA's world player of the year.

    Argentine Lionel Messi (left) and Brazilian Marta (right) took FIFA's top individual honours on the night [Reuters]

    Argentina's Lionel Messi has won the prestigious FIFA Ballon d'Or award for 2010, awarded to the best men's football player of the year.

    Brazil's Marta won the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year award, while Jose Mourinho, the former Inter Milan and current Real Madrid coach, won the FIFA World Coach of the Year (Men's) honours.

    German women's football team coach Silvia Neid won the award in her category.

    The awards were decided after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men's and women's national teams as well as media representatives chosen by France Football voted.

    Messi beat out Barcelona team-mates, and World Cup winners with Spain, Xavi and Iniesta to take top honours for the calendar year, making him just the second player to win consecutive Ballon d'Or honours since Dutchman Marco van Basten in 1988 and '89.

    "It was just good to be here with my team mates," said Messi, who looked surprised by the announcement, which was made by FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

    All three finalists for the award play their club football under Guardiola at Barcelona.

    While Messi may have been a surprise choice, given that Iniesta and Xavi had helped Spain lift their first World Cup in South Africa, he had an outstanding 2010, winning the Spanish league with Barcelona and putting in a series of scintillating performances throughout the year for club and country.

    He obtained 22.65 per cent of the votes, beating out Iniesta's 17.36 per cent and Xavi's 16.48 per cent.

    Jose Mourinho's win was almost a foregone conclusion, given that he led his club, Inter Milan, to the treble, winning the UEFA Champions League, the Italian Serie A and the Italian Cup. He gathered 35.92 per cent of the vote, beating out Spanish national team coach Vincente del Bosque (33.08 per cent) and FC Barcelona's Pep Guardiola (8.45 per cent)

    Brazilian Marta, who has won the award four times in the past, put in another stellar year, winning the Golden Boot and being elected best player for her club FC Gold Pride in the Women's Professional Soccer League in the United States.

    The FIFA/FIFPro World XI for 2010 was also named at the event. It consisted of: Iker Casillas (Spain) in goal; Maicon (Brazil), Lúcio (Brazil), Gerard Piqué (Spain) and Carles Puyol (Spain) in defence; Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain) and Andrés Iniesta (Spain) in midfield; and Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and David Villa (Spain) up front.

    The FIFA Puskás Award for the "most beautiful goal" of the year as voted for on FIFA.com by over one million fans was also handed out. This prize, created in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, went to Turkey’s Hamit Altintop for his stunning goal in the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match between Kazakhstan and Turkey played on September 3, 2010.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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