Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona and Argentina has won the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the best player of 2010.

This sees the Argentine retain the award for the footballer of the year: last year he was the undisputed winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the Ballon d'Or prize, which have this year merged into one single title.

Messi thus becomes one of a rare few to win the award twice in a row, beating club teammates Xavi and
Andres Iniesta, both of Spain, in the process. He obtained 22.65 per cent of the votes, overcoming Iniesta's 17.36 per cent and Xavi's 16.48 per cent.FIFA's voting panel judged Messi to be the best due to his astounding club form. In La Liga, Messi has spent the last twelve months scoring a goal a game. In those matches that he didn't score he often turned provider: in the 5-0 rout of Real Madrid, Messi set up two of the strikes for his teammates.

A disappointing World Cup for Argentina could have hampered Messi's chances - in World Cup years, it is often players from the winning team that win the Ballon d'Or. This year seems to be an exception to the rule.

Xavi, meanwhile, missed out despite a year in which he provided the most assists of all, and had a passing rate the likes of which is seldom seen. Andres Iniesta, another key assister who also scored the winning goal in the World Cup final, perhaps failed to win due to missing much of the year with injury.

Second In A RowBarcelona failed to win the Champions League in 2009-10, but this did not cost Messi due to his tremendous individual showings throughout the tournament.

He was the top scorer in Europe's premier club competition despite not reaching the final, with four of his eight tournament goals coming in one glorious performance against Arsenal in the quarter-finals.

His prowess in front of goal was no less in La Liga.
En route to winning the La Liga Player of the Year award for the second time in a row, Messi became his club's and in fact the whole league's top goalscorer, netting 34 goals in 35 appearances. This also brought him the European Golden Shoe award for top continental striker.

Needless to say, he was also named Argentine Footballer of the Year for the fifth time in six years.

Against The Grain?Not everyone agreed with FIFA's decision that Messi should win. In a Goal.com poll run in the days leading up to the announcement, a
majority tipped Xavi to win the award, with the Argentine in second and Iniesta a distant third.

Messi himself said in the lead-up to the award that he would be delighted no matter who won and that his two teammates deserve it, but in the end he left with the prize yet again.

Other Awards

As well as the men's Ballon d'Or there were other prizes given out in Zurich on Monday:

By Ewan Macdonald

Lionel MESSI

Club: FC Barcelona
Date of Birth:
24 June 1987 (age 23)
Defining moment of 2010: Scoring all four as the Blaugrana battered Arsenal 4-1 on April 6
Best Yet Again


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