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Messi wins fourth Ballon d'Or

2013-01-07 21:08

Zurich - Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi added yet another record to his stellar list of achievements over the past 12 months on Monday when he won an unprecedented fourth, consecutive, Ballon d'Or at a FIFA gala.

The accolade seals Messi's status as the greatest player of his generation after he saw off Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta for the prize.

Messi received a vote share of 41.60 percent to 23.68 for Ronaldo and 10.91 for Iniesta.

VIDEO: Lionel Messi wins his fourth Ballon d'Or award

Messi and former French star, UEFA president Michel Platini, had prior to Monday been the only players to win three straight Ballon d'Or awards while Dutch greats Johan Cruyff and Marco Van Basten both won the accolade on three occasions.

Spain's Vicente del Bosque was named coach of the year for 2012, seeing off competition from Real Madrid's Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola.

Messi's success crowned another landmark year for the Argentine who is already the top scorer in La Liga for the ongoing season with 25 goals, having also broken Gerd Mueller's 40-year record for the most goals in a calendar year.

He finished 2012 with an astonishing 91 goals in all competitions.

But Messi has insisted his scoring records will mean nothing if Barcelona do not go on to take the La Liga title off Real or fail to win the Champions League.

"It is incredible to receive this prize once again and it's impressive it makes it four in a row. I would like to share this with my Barca team-mates - particularly with Andres, who is here with me," said the ever unassuming Messi.

"I am proud to be able to train alongside him every day. I am also thinking of my team-mates in the Argentina squad," he went on.

"Thank you to all those who voted for me, skippers, coaches and national coaches.

"Thank you too to my family, my friends and of course my wife and son, who is the best thing that ever happened to me," said the 25-year-old from Rosario, who in November became a father to son Thiago.

Beforehand he had said winning for Barcelona outweighed any personal glory.

"It's nice to beat records but the win for the team is what is important. My goals are to win titles with the team, the Spanish league, Spanish Cup or Champions League is more important than any personal records."

Barca coach Tito Vilanova had already eulogised his player in advance of Messi's win.

"Leo's great quality is that he plays as if he is still a child," Vilanova opined.

"He was always good as a youngster and you didn't need to be a coach to say that. It was a joy to see him play as a 15-year-old and that continues now."

Portugal captain Ronaldo at least has the consolation of having won in 2008 before Messi's hegemony began while Iniesta can for his part bask in the knowledge that he has won a World Cup and two Euros - including Euro 2012 - whereas Messi still has to replicate such achievements at international level.

Until he can lift top honours with Argentina, some observers will insist he cannot be classed as the greatest player ever, moving ahead of Pele and Diego Maradona.

List of football award winners for 2012 after a ceremony at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on Monday:

Ballon d'Or:

1. Lionel Messi (ARG)
2. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)
3. Andres Iniesta (ESP)

Coach:

1. Vicente Del Bosque (ESP)
2. Jose Mourinho (POR)
3. Pep Guardiola (ESP)

Team:

Iker Casillas (ESP), Dani Alves (BRA), Gerard Pique (ESP), Sergio Ramos (ESP), Marcelo (BRA), Xabi Alonso (ESP), Xavi Hernandez (ESP), Andres Iniesta (ESP), Lionel Messi (ARG), Radamel Falcao (COL), Cristiano Ronaldo (POR)

Best goal:

1. Miroslav Stoch (SVK)
2. Falcao (COL)
3. Neymar (BRA)

Fairplay:

Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF)

FIFA president award:

Franz Beckenbauer (GER)

Woman player:

1. Abby Wambach (USA)
2. Marta (BRA)
3. Alex Morgan (USA)

Woman team coach:

Pia Sundhage (USA/SWE)

AFP

Comments
  • espanyol.mpumi - 2013-01-07 21:18

    Wow! Talk about stating the obvious..

      sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-07 21:39

      Still think Man United's Robin van Persie should have made it into Fifa's World XI for 2012 where he single-handedly help Arsenal finished inside the Premier League's Top 4 in 2012.But there you go just my opinion.

      Vishen - 2013-01-07 22:07

      Messi is overrated, consider this... 1. Has not played in England where you will be kicked and roughed up...Ronaldo has 2. Weak in the air...Ronaldo brilliant in the air 3. Plays in a league that has a winter break...No such comforts in other top European leagues 4. No right foot...Ronaldo brilliant with both feet 5. Can he play without his Barcelona teammates? Don't know...Ronaldo won the ballon dor playing for man united 6. Never shone for Argentina in a major competition 7. Scored 80 odd goals for his club last year...can he do the same in England...me thinks not!!!

      imam.madi.129 - 2013-01-07 22:32

      Ok Messi has proven it he is da best, but the circus suit :). Where are pirates players in da FIFA 11?. The ANC YL must tell they are racist, no BEE, AA or EA in FIFA after they took our money and Havana almost won da World Cup! Hell no!

      Robert Simon - 2013-01-07 23:00

      @Madhi, can we concentrate on celebrating Messi's victory rather than always being stereotype with SA politics, because by always allowing politics to drive your thoughts you then begin to act as if you out of your mind.

      ganjabobby - 2013-01-08 02:20

      @Vishen: thanks for giving us the sky sports run down of Messi's abilities. In 2008 when Cristiano won his Ballon d'Or, Franz Beckenbauer openly stated that Messi deserved the award over Cristiano. Objectively, I think Xavi who was talisman for Spain in their 1st of 3 successive national titles, should have been awarded Best Player in 2008 - . But your opinions are derived from Sky Sports so...

      keith.ngobeni - 2013-01-08 04:28

      @vishen, stop your rhetoric nonsense guided by jealous, what Lionel messi is doing on the field of play week in and week out is amazing, he does not need to move anywhere to prove his worth, becaz he has previously outplayed the likes of man utd and arsenal in the UEFA champions league. ligue1,bundesliga,serie A,la liga,Eredivise Holland,Russian league and other European leagues except the EPL have all got winter breaks, what do you mean when you said messi plays in a small league which has got a winter break? Stop watching highlights of the EPL matches and watch full games you'll realise that messi can shine in any league becaz he's talented and gifted, and his football skills are from another planet.

      ndumiso.mavuso.5 - 2013-01-08 12:02

      @ Vishen: Messi is underated; consider this: 1. Plays in Spain against a team that had won the uefa 4 times between 1992 & 2002 (RM), in that same period only 1 English team won the Uefa (MU - AND BOY DID THEY CELEBRATE) 2. Since making his debut for the senior barcelona team in 2004, he has won 3 uefa trophies - Real Madrid in that period? 0! 3. Has not played in England? - Why Lower His Standards? Ronaldo moved from MU to Real; why leave something big for something less challenging? DAH! 4.No right foot? Weak in the air? - Why waste energy jumping and using both feet when you can score 91 goals with 1 foot @ 5 ft 7? That would be an unfair advantage! 5. Can he play without his Barcelona teammates? - Not such a Bright question! - Ronaldo won the ballon dor playing alone!! How remarkable! 6. Won Olympic Gold with Argentina in 2008 - What has Ronaldo ever won for his country? Even in Junior teams? 7. Messi has been Uefa's top scorer for the past 4 seasons playing against the best team in Europe! What would he do against QPR? Think again my friend! I REST MY CASE!

  • athalia.maabane - 2013-01-07 21:18

    Messi, God's grandeur. Well done.

  • ndyeboreginaldmazawule - 2013-01-07 21:22

    Well deserved

  • charl.malan.12 - 2013-01-07 21:25

    Just incredible

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-07 21:26

    At 25 year old and his 4th Ballon d'Or in a row is quite an achievement.From now on just call the Messi d'Or as no one else will ever be as good as him in the next 3 to 4 years.He got 40% of the votes compared to Iniesta's 10%.And Iniesta had a remarkable Euro 2012 tournament.Still Messi rules football without a shadow of a doubt.Well done lad. Why can't Bafana emulate Lionel Messi?Just a thought!!!!!!!!

      imam.madi.129 - 2013-01-07 22:34

      Bafana need da suits like Messi then Los goles will come.

  • sicelo.brukwe.9 - 2013-01-07 21:41

    Eish Boy, you mess them up without messy!!

  • avremel.niselow - 2013-01-07 21:42

    Is it just me or do the entire xi play in Spain?

      sean.bagley.50 - 2013-01-07 22:18

      No one from the English Premier League either which is bizarre since it is the greatest,hardest and most intense league on earth.

  • wonder.dila - 2013-01-07 22:03

    Messi is the greatest of his generation, that has been proven. Synod any reasonable doubt!!!

  • lebeko - 2013-01-07 22:14

    Truly speaking he deserve it!!!

  • aroka.murombe - 2013-01-07 22:17

    He's beyond perfection if u know what I mean

  • Radebe - 2013-01-07 22:24

    King Messi

  • Radebe - 2013-01-07 22:25

    King Messi

  • Radebe - 2013-01-07 22:25

    King Messi

  • luzane.carstens - 2013-01-07 22:26

    What a great player. This is what you get when a coach allows you to play your style, with the freedom that you still play the game on the street. There are many more great players, but teams and coaches change the natural game to fit in with their style.

  • Sbusiso Zulu - 2013-01-07 22:31

    he is da great 2me... im happy dat English player r not in dat best 11 coz dey not impressive. check da England national team and da Baclay's team which are struggling in da UEFA

  • dhirshan.gobind - 2013-01-07 22:32

    the most exciting league may be the epl but in terms of football, skill, technical aspects, strategy and tactics, you cant look beyond spain. haters, stop hating and enjoy leo and ronaldo - we are fortunate to get to see these once in a life time players!

      Vishen - 2013-01-07 22:47

      Give me exciting any day...btw will probably need a pacemaker soon, what with man u's come from behind and last minute antics this season...you'll never get that in spain bru...only 2 teams there!!!...and they get the major share of the tv money, unlike in the epl, where there is a more equitable distribution.

      nhlapop - 2013-01-07 23:05

      I agree with u Vishen. EPL is the best. Talking about Man U come from behind to with the game 4:3. Wow.

      keith.ngobeni - 2013-01-08 04:58

      @dhirshan, you're right about the Spanish la liga that when it comes to football,skills,technical aspects,strategy

  • basiladams.basil - 2013-01-07 23:00

    Great 4Messi but in my opinion I will only regard him as the best player ever if he wins a world cup and or repeat his performance in another league say EPL or seriaA then only one can put him next to the 3greatest player in the world ever but until then he will be know as the only player to have won 4 or more Ballon d'Or titles just saying!

      siyanda.dube.1 - 2013-01-08 11:07

      He went to England played against Man United and scored two goals the last time played.in Man United territory.so what you talking about ,England players are no match for messi fact!!!! Christiano has not won a world cup also.what you talking about?

  • nhlapop - 2013-01-07 23:01

    He's unstoppble. Fourth in a row. Tho my prefare candidate didn't win the award. I must admit that Messi is the best and he deserve the award. Now CR7 must consider coming back home. The last time when he won this award was back 2008 while he was stiLl at Manchester United. He refused the extansion of his contract with Madrid, where else he can go? Man U! Come back home buddy..

  • molemi.mogoma - 2013-01-07 23:13

    #Congrats to the young man Leo Messi for winning th Ballon d'oR for the fourth time. A player at his best and form really deserved the award.. somebody pls give tht man a #BELLS

  • nhlanhla.msiza.9 - 2013-01-07 23:20

    If there is a current god of football his name is Messi!

  • sadrick.lottering - 2013-01-07 23:33

    Of cos he still has to prove himself. And its unfortunate that many say at international level instead of outside barca. CR7 is KING.

  • landelanintamo - 2013-01-07 23:34

    Well i am not suprised after all his oponets didn't stand a chance.....

  • she.is.here.777 - 2013-01-08 00:58

    He is so good it's starting to get a lil boring well deserved though.

  • ganjabobby - 2013-01-08 01:47

    ..so the English Premier League is " the best league in the world" hahahaha all 11 players from La Liga

  • Ntsebele Gugushe - 2013-01-08 02:29

    congra to this short man watch him play is like watchingh PS3

  • Sphiwe - 2013-01-08 04:35

    Barca and messiah are my stress pills its unbelievable what he can do with his little feets i thought zizou was the best.

  • jonathan.mumo.3 - 2013-01-08 05:19

    Messi aliving legend!2009,2010,2011,2012!magician!

      Felix.gumbi1 - 2013-01-08 11:02

      2013 as well

  • wonder.dila - 2013-01-08 05:56

    Messi will not be great if he did not have a pack of haters like Vishen and other CR7 worshippers, the pack of haters behind him proves just how incredible he is. Having said that, we are truly blessed to have witness this generation of players, I doubt there has ever been 2 top performers in world football for such an extended period of time!

      ewan.moffat.5 - 2013-01-08 14:02

      I think you need to brush up on your footballing history. Puskas (Hungary), Eusebio (Portugal), Pele (Brazil), Beckenbauer (Germany), Cruyff (Holland), Mario Kempes (Argentina), Karl-Heinz Ruminegge (Germany), Ruud Gullitt (Holland), Marco van Basten (Holland), Jurgen Klinsman (Germany), Frank Rykjaard (Holland), Paulo Maldini (Italy), Diego Maradona (Argentina), Roberto Baggio (Italy),Zola (Italy), Zidane (France), Viera (France) - just a few examples. There have been plenty of brilliant players over the years, unfortunately some before TV coverage and others played in leagues that didn't get as much TV coverage as EPL does in SA. Although Messi and Ronaldo are fantastic players, it's very difficult to compare them to players in different eras, such has been the changes to equipment and some of the rules. Other factors to consider when comparing players over different eras is the changes brought about by the level of professionalism now required in football viz. scientific training methods, eating plans, recovery methods, etc. So in my opinion Messi and Ronaldo would certainly be in the top 10 of the greatest ever players, but depending on which players you had the privilege of watching play, your opinion will be different.

  • jonathan.appel2 - 2013-01-08 06:12

    No doubt u r the best in the world Messi, i would like 2 c u play in the EPL, greatest player in da world in da greatest league in da world. Congrats Leo.

  • marcus.morobane - 2013-01-08 06:31

    Leaders are born not made messi o bosso I am sorry for cr7

  • rudzanimulaudzi.mulaudzi - 2013-01-08 07:01

    That's what we call a living legend. congrats. I would like to see him playing at the English Premier League.

  • moyahabo.lekolwana - 2013-01-08 07:08

    Damn Ronaldo deserved the award! Only if Messi was not playing in 2012. Ronaldo will only shine if Messi retires for as long as Messi is playing, Ronaldo will always be second best to him. Ronaldo is only the Best when you remove Messi out of the picture.

  • siliziwem - 2013-01-08 07:26

    let hm leave Barca

  • gerald.parker.3956 - 2013-01-08 07:31

    Just a question that nobody has asked. Why is it that Messi does nothing when playing for Argentina/ Isis possibly because of his team mates at Barca who are all almost as good as him supporting him where as Argentine palyers are not as good, just asking

      aadil.esack - 2013-01-08 08:51

      HUH ? Did you see him when he represented his country in 2012 ?! AMAZING as ever ! People forget he trains with his Barca teamates all week, whereas he only trains with his countrymen every few months for a few days - it's all "gelling". That said, he still shined for Argentina as well in 2012

  • daniel.bogogolela - 2013-01-08 08:28

    he is the best of all times forever!

  • nombengula.mlamli - 2013-01-08 08:36

    Messi is undoubtedly the best but not to be compared to Pele and Maradona. The two football greats have had to survive naked brutality on the field, with no protective rules, playing on harsh footbal pitches but still triumphed. Skillful players are highly protected these days; a slight tackle, the whistle goes off, it's like there is a 'Messi clause'.

  • hangwi.maphanda - 2013-01-08 08:48

    messi hs so much support at his team hence andre ws de wit him..RONALDO single handedly help real to win laliga, ronaldo is de best period....The voting system of de world is jus crazy ....50m ppl didnt wnt zuma bt he won anyway wit 2300 votes....

  • aadil.esack - 2013-01-08 08:57

    Never thought i'd see anyone better than El Diego in my lifetime. A few came close, the original Ronaldo, ZIZOU, etc - and as brilliant as they all were, i still rated Maradonna the best i'd ever seen. Until about 5 or 6 years ago when i first saw THIS little guy play - I said it back then, he ain't human, and I stand by it ! My favourite player of all time will always be Stevie G, for various reasons, but the BEST player ever, none other than DA MESSI ! I just feel so priveledged that I got to watch them both live before i died ! Scary fact - footballer's normally peak around 28, he is only 25. Then take into account that most of the truly gifted players, e.g. Gerrard, Giggs, Totti, etc are still playing "above the rest" even in their 30's. Those bored with Messi's greatness already, be prepared to get ALOT more bored over the next decade, as I see a long reign for the King !

  • kgotlaetsile.mophuti - 2013-01-08 09:02

    Give that boy a bell's hes certainly the best in the world

      she.is.here.777 - 2013-01-08 09:20

      With Bells in his tummy he probably won't be the best anymore.

  • 5ihl3 - 2013-01-08 09:28

    This sucks balls!!! CR7 should have won. His individual brilliance helped Real Madrid win la liga n the copa del rey. Also took portugal to the euro semis, And what did messi win in that period?? Nothing.

  • 5ihl3 - 2013-01-08 09:33

    That's bullsh*t. Remember one of the last el classicos last season when Ronaldo demolished Barca??? This sissie must go play in epl/bundesliga/serie a then he cn claim greatest. Ronaldo won everything in epl n moved on for more glory

  • phindile.zina - 2013-01-08 09:37

    He's only 25years of age, he won everything at cub level, broke every record and set new ones. The only thing left for him is winning the world cup with Agerntina, he's simply the best, all time best!!!

  • lerato.mohasoane - 2013-01-08 10:53

    THE GREAT MESSI....he has done a great job for his team and this is why he deserves to win Ballon d'Or and he might get a chance to win one of the World Cups....come 2014 or 2018 and we'll see!!

  • nyakanyaka.nyakanyaka - 2013-01-08 16:28

    He won oops! Anyway im not his fan, cr7 is alltime best compared to this little evil messi, breakin record of chitalu was impossible with his little evil tricks bt he won.

  • lloyd.sedio.9 - 2013-01-09 10:45

    we are extremely lucky to be living in the times of football greatness. All hail king Lionel Messi

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