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Messi Beats Ronaldo, Iniesta to Win Fourth Ballon d'Or

07 Jan 2013

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Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or for the fourth season in a row

BBC

Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi has been awarded the Ballon d'Or for the fourth season in a row.

Messi, 25, hit 91 goals during 2012 and beat club team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid's Ronaldo to the award, reports the BBC.

Despite his goals, the Catalan giants failed to win either the Spanish league title or Champions League last year.

Spain's Vicente del Bosque was named coach of the year while the team of the year was made up only of players from the Spanish top division.

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.

Messi was favourite to win the gong after surpassing Bayern Munich and Germany striker Gerd Mueller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, set in 1972.

He netted 79 goals for Barcelona, plus another 12 for Argentina, in 69 games for club and country.

But Real Madrid clinched the Primera Division with a nine-point winning margin over their arch rivals, who were eliminated in the Champions League semi-finals by eventual winners Chelsea.

However, both Real boss Jose Mourinho and Messi's former boss Pep Guardiola, who left Barca in May to take a year's sabbatical from the game, failed to win the FIFA coach of the year award which was claimed by Spain coach Del Bosque for guiding his country to the Euro 2012 title.

At a news conference before the Ballon d'Or ceremony, Guardiola confirmed he plans to return to management next season

The Spaniard, 41, stepped down after winning 14 trophies, including two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles, in his four years at the helm.

"I will return (next season) because I am young, but I have been living the kind of life that I wanted and one that my family also deserved," said Guardiola, who has relocated to New York with his wife and children.

Fifa world team of the year

    Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
    Dani Alves (Barcelona)
    Gerard Pique (Barcelona)
    Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
    Marcelo (Real Madrid)
    Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
    Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)
    Xavi (Barcelona)
    Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
    Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)
    Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Tags: Sports, World, Featured, MESSI, RONALDO, Iniesta, BALLON D’OR

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