Messi wins record fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or




Lionel Messi wins record fourth FIFA Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi wins record fourth FIFA Ballon d’Or

Lionel Messi wins the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or award, fourth time in a row ahead of rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta at an awards ceremony in Zurich. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has become the first player in the history to clinch the Ballon d’Or award on four occasions.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo despite a string of fine performances to steer Real Madrid to the Liga title, and impressing at Euro 2012 as he guided Portugal to the semifinals had to settle again for close second, while Spain and Barcelona’s midfield maestro Iniesta, hero at EURO 2012 could only manage third.

Messi enjoyed an extraordinary 2012, surpassing Gerd Muller’s 40 year old record of 85 goals in a calendar year, finishing with an remarkable 91 goals during 2012 despite a relatively disappointing year by the high standards of the Catalan club, who failed to defend the La Liga title, and were eliminated in the semifinals of the Champions League and won just one trophy, the Spanish Cup, in 2012. Yet Messi’s brilliance was enough to help him to individual glory.

Messi also scored an unprecedented 50 goals in a La Liga season, a record 14 goals in a Champions League season and became the first player to net five times in a Champions League match. Messi also defied his critics who believe his standards drop for Argentina by scoring 12 goals for his country in nine games.

Messi was part of a three-man shortlist for the prize, which is voted for by journalists, and national coaches and captains, alongside midfielder Iniesta and forward Ronaldo. Messi polled 41.60 per cent of the votes, with Ronaldo taking 23.68 per cent and Iniesta 10.91 per cent.

Messi in his stylish spotty jacket on receiving the trophy from Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro 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 recognize my other colleagues from Barcelona; Andres it has been great to train and play alongside you. I would also like to recognise my friends in the Argentina team, everyone that has worked with me, coaches and staff and my family and friends. Also my wife and son. Thank you,” said an emotional Messi.

“I’m more interested in team awards than I am about what I might win individually. There have been years where we won more titles that have been better.”

The Argentine previously shared the record of three consecutive victories with France International and current UEFA president Michel Platini, while Dutch duo Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten also won the prize three times.

Vicente del Bosque, who guided Spain to the 2012 European Championship two years after winning the World Cup, was voted men’s coach of the year.

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