Messi surprise winner of FIFA Ballon d’Or awardBy DPA, IANS
Monday, January 10, 2011
ZURICH - Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi was Monday named winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.
The newly named award resulted from the merger of the FIFA World Player and the Ballon d’Or awards, both of which Messi won last year.
Messi, 23, who made history by becoming the first Argentine player to win the award in 2009, beat off Barcelona team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the voting.
The announcement of Messi’s win was made by Pep Guardiola, his coach at Barcelona.
His voice breaking with emotion, Messi said: “This is special for me and I’d like to share this award with my team-mates, with all the people that have helped me and with all of the Argentine people.”
Messi’s victory came as something of a surprise because it was expected that either Iniesta or Xavi would finish first in the polling because of their stellar roles in helping Spain to win the World Cup for the first time.
Messi was outstanding for Barcelona throughout 2010 but failed to score at the World Cup for Argentina, who were thrashed 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals.