FC Barcelona Lionel Messi was hailed as the best player in the world for the year 2009 at the FIFA/FIFPRO World Player Gala held in Zurich, Switzerland tonight.
“First of all I would like to thank all of my colleagues who voted, as it is a huge honour to receive this award,” said a thrilled Messi, the first Argentinian to win the accolade.
“It is nice to have the recognition of your colleagues from other national teams. I want to say thanks and share this with all of my team-mates. This is the best way to end a magnificent year for Barcelona, my team-mates and for me, Thanks a lot.”
After helping Barcelona win an unprecedented six titles this year – Copa del Rey, la Liga, Champions League, Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and the Club World Cup – the Argentine international truly deserved the award to top off everything that he had achieved.
The 1,073 points he obtained in the vote, participated in by the coaches and captains of 147 national teams, saw him win by a clear margin ahead of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo in second (352 points) and Spain’s Xavi (196), Brazil’s Kaka (190) and Spain’s Andres Iniesta (134).
Born 24 June 1987 in Rosario, Argentina, Messi has now been presented with every award that can be given to a football player for individual performances in Spain, Europe and the World.
His list of awards for the year 2009 includes:
Premio Don Balón (Best Foreign Player in La Liga)
EFE Trophy (Best Ibero-American Player in La Liga)
UEFA Champions League Top Scorer
Trofeo Alfredo Di Stéfano
UEFA Club Forward of the Year
UEFA Club Footballer of the Year
LFP Best Player
‘World Soccer’ Player of the Year
FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball
FIFA World Player of the Year