Lionel Messi has been awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or for a record fourth time in succession at a gala ceremony in Zurich, beating off competition from Cristiano Ronaldo and Andrés Iniesta.
After a record-breaking 2012, the FC Barcelona forward set a new mark of world titles by finishing top of the three-man shortlist at the gala ceremony in Zurich. Messi was the top goalscorer in the Spanish Liga in the 2011/12 season with 50 goals. He also broke Gerd Müller’s long-standing record for goals in a calendar year, finding the net an incredible 91 times. Abby Wambach took the women’s award.
On receiving the award, the 25-year-old Argentinian international said: “To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable. The fourth award that I have had is just too great for words. I would like to recognise my other colleagues from Barcelona: Iniesta it has been great to train and play alongside you. I would also like to recognise all of my friends in the Argentinian national team. Everyone that has worked with me coaches and staff and my family and my friends. Also my wife and my son. Thank you.”
Coach of Spain’s UEFA EURO 2012 victors, Vicente del Bosque won the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football 2012 seeing off competition from the two former winners, Madrid coach José Mourinho and former Barcelona boss Josep Guardiola. The 62-year-old said: “I would like to remember all of the coaches I had in my time who were part of my education.” Current Sweden and former United States Pia Sundhage took the women’s equivalent.
The FIFA Puskás Award for most beautiful goal of the year was won by Miroslav Stoch. His sensational volleyed effort for Fenerbahçe SK against Gençlerbirliği SK in the Turkish Super League took the prize. Club Atlético de Madrid forward Falcao and Santos FC’s Neymar were the other nominees.
Former Germany captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer won the Presidential Award while the Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF) was bestowed the FIFA Fair Play Award 2012.
The FIFA/FIFPro World XI was also announced:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF); Daniel Alves (FC Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF), Gerard Piqué (FC Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid CF); Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid CF), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona); Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Falcao (Club Atlético de Madrid), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF).