Messi: Third time player of the year

Last Updated: Tue, Jan 10, 2012 07:12 hrs

The FIFA Ballon d'Or trophy for the year was awarded to Argentina's Lionel Messi for the third time in a row on Monday evening at the award ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland.

The 24-year footballer was short-listed from a three-player list that included Spanish footballer and club teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid´s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

While Cristiano came close second in the vote for the trophy, Xavi bagged the third position.

The trophy was handed over to Messi by retired Brazilian great Ronaldo. The young footballer deemed it to be a 'huge honor'.

Messi said that it was a great pleasure and an amazing honor for him to win the award for the third time. He thanked everyone associated with him including his team-mates, trainers, physios, the coach and everyone at Barcelona and the Argentina National team.

On the other hand, Barcelona's Pep Guardiola won the coach's award and Ferguson bagged the FIFA presidential award for outstanding service to the sport.

The FIFA award was renamed last year when it merged with France Football´s Golden Ball.

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