Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or ahead of Ronaldo & Iniesta
Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been awarded the Ballon d’Or for a fourth year running.
Messi, 25, hit 91 goals during 2012 and beat club team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo to the trophy.
Despite his goals, the Catalan giants failed to win either the Spanish league title or Champions League last year.
Abby Wambach won the women’s award and Vicente del Bosque the coach accolade, while the team of the year was made up only of players from Spain’s La Liga.
Messi was announced as the winner of the Ballon d’Or, the award given to the world’s best player, during a ceremony held in Zurich on Monday.
He 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.
He becomes the first player to win four consecutive Ballons d’Or, breaking the record he jointly held with former France international, and current Uefa president, Michel Platini.
“To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable,” said the Argentine. “The fourth award that I have had is just too great for words.
“I would like to recognise my other colleagues from Barcelona. Andres, it has been great to train and play alongside you.
“I would also like to recognise all of my friends in the Argentina 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.”
Messi – who polled 41.6% of the votes, with Ronaldo taking 23.68% and Iniesta 10.91% – was favourite to win after surpassing Germany striker Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year from 1972.
He netted 79 goals for Barcelona, plus another 12 for Argentina, in 69 games for club and country.
In other news, Gareth Bale was the winner of the Fallon’Dfloor award with Luis Suarez coming second and Sergio Busquets in third place.