Argentinian soccer magician Lionel Messi has won a record 4th FIFA Ballon d’Or. Messi was selected from a final shortlist of 3 comprising Andres Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Last Published: Tue, Jan 08 2013. 01 04 AM IST
Messi scored a remarkable 91 goals in the calendar year, overtaking Gerd Muller’s mark of 85. Here, he celebrates after scoring off a penalty kick during a Spanish league match against Espanyol in Barcelona on 6 January 2013. AFP
Messi has already won the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Seen here during the Spanish league football match against Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin stadium in Sevilla on 9 December 2012. AFP
Messi pipped Barcelona teammate and Spanish international Andres Iniesta. Here Iniesta (R) and then coach Pep Guardiola celebrate after winning the UEFA football Champions League in 2009 at the Olympic Stadium in Rome. AFP
Also losing out was the winner of the award in 2008, Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo who helped Real Madrid to last season’s Spanish title ahead of Barcelona before turning out for Portugal at the European Championships. Reuters
Despite his prodigious talent, Ronaldo has suffered by comparison with Messi. Seen here, Ronaldo reacts during their Spanish King’s Cup soccer match against Celta Vigo at the Balaidos stadium in Vigo on 12 December 2012. Reuters
Even though he’s yet to win a World Cup for his country, Messi is already among the all-time greats of the “beautiful game”. AFP