SABC News - Messi wins Ballon dOr for fifth time:Monday 11 January 2016

Messi wins Ballon d'Or for fifth time

Monday 11 January 2016 21:38

REUTERS

The Barcelona and Argentina forward finished ahead of Ronaldo and Brazil forward Neymar (REUTERS)

Lionel Messi reclaimed the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the world player of the year on Monday, after watching his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo walk off with the prize for the previous two years.

The Barcelona and Argentina forward finished ahead of Ronaldo and Brazil forward Neymar as he scooped the award for the fifth time overall, having previously won it four years in a row from 2009 to 2012.

Messi helped Barcelona win a Spanish league, cup and Champions League treble plus the Club World Cup and also led Argentina to the Copa America final, where they lost to Chile.

"It's a very special moment to be back here, winning another Ballon d'Or," said Messi as he received the award.

"It's incredible to win a fifth... more than anything I ever dreamed of as a kid.

"I want to thank my team mates, without them none of this would have been possible."

Barcelona's Luis Enrique was voted coach of the year.

United States World Cup winner Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the final against Japan, was named women's player of the year.

Ronaldo ended last season trophyless with Real Madrid although he helped Portugal qualify for Euro 2016.

Neymar won a treble alongside Messi at Barcelona but had less happy time with Brazil, receiving a four-match international ban after he was sent off during the Copa America.

The ceremony, at the Zurich Kongresshaus theatre, was held against the backdrop of FIFA going through the worst corruption crisis since it was founded in 1904.

The sport is facing criminal investigations in both Switzerland and the United States, where some leading FIFA officials are among 41 individuals and sports entities who have been indicted on corruption charges.

Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, normally a central figure at the ceremony, was not involved after being banned for eight years by the Ethics Committee in December.

There was no President's Award, traditionally awarded for outstanding services to the game.
Blatter was replaced by acting president Issa Hayatou who played a low-key role, reading a brief speech before the start of the ceremony and appeared on the stage when the awards for best player and women's player were presented.

Factbox on Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who won the FIFA Ballon d'Or on Monday, the fifth time the 28-year-old has been voted the world's best player.

FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi

Factbox on Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who won the FIFA Ballon d'Or on Monday, the fifth time the 28-year-old has been voted the world's best player.

Born June 24, 1987 in Rosario, Argentina.

EARLY CAREER

* Joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old in 2000 and shone in the youth ranks before then-coach Frank Rijkaard gave him his senior debut at the age of 16 in a friendly against Porto in 2003.


* Made his La Liga debut in October 2004 and scored his first La Liga goal the following May in a match against Albacete at the Nou Camp.


* Scored six goals in 17 appearances in 2005-06 as Barca won La Liga for the second year in a row but did not feature in their 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the Champions League final.
 

* Messi played a key role as Barca claimed six trophies in the calendar year of 2009 including the Champions League, La Liga, the King's Cup and the Club World Cup. Won the first of four consecutive World Player of the Year awards.


* Won La Liga again in 2010 and retained the World Player award, beating shortlisted Spanish World Cup winners and Barca team mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi.


* Inspired Barcelona to a 3-1 win against Manchester United in the 2011 Champions League final, scoring one goal and creating another. 


* Helped Barca to a third consecutive La Liga title in 2010-11 and was on the scoresheet as they beat Santos 4-0 to win the Club World Cup. 


* While Barcelona failed to retain either La Liga or the Champions League, Messi completed 2012 with an extraordinary total of 91 goals in all competitions, a record for a calendar year. He smashed the La Liga scoring record for one season in 2011-12 with 50 goals. 


* Equalled the Champions League scoring record of 71 goals set by former Real Madrid and Schalke 04 forward Raul when he struck twice against Ajax Amsterdam at the end of 2014. Has since been overtaken by current Real forward Cristiano Ronaldo.


* Turned in a series of scintillating performances in 2014-15 as Barca romped to a treble of Champions League, La Liga and King's Cup titles.


ARGENTINA

* Led Argentina to the title at the 2005 World Youth Championship, scoring two penalties in a 2-1 victory over Nigeria in the final.


* Made his debut for the senior side in a friendly against Hungary in August 2005 but was sent off less than a minute after coming on as a substitute for elbowing an opponent who had pulled his shirt.


* Played only a bit-part role at the 2006 World Cup. Argentina were knocked out in the quarter-finals by hosts Germany after a penalty shootout.


* Led Argentina to the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.


* Part of the Argentina side coached by Diego Maradona at the 2010 World Cup that was beaten 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals. Messi failed to score and struggled to find his best form at the tournament in South Africa.


* After a season disrupted by injury, captained Argentina to the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where they lost 1-0 to Germany. Messi, who scored four goals at the finals, won the Golden Ball award for the tournament's best player.

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