FIFA FIFPro World XI Award 2015 Backstage Pictures, Messi Wins ballon dor for fifth time record
FIFA FIFPro WORLD XI AWARD 2015
LIONEL Messi speaks after winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.
ZURICH: Winners of the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, (L-R back row) Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta, (L-R front row) Luka Modric, Paul Pogba, Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, pose with their trophies during the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
Messi wins Ballon d’Or for record fifth time
ZURICH: Now score it Lionel Messi 5, Cristiano Ronaldo 3.
Messi reclaimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the world player of the year on Monday from his great rival Ronaldo who had walked off with football’s top individual honour for the previous two years.
The Barcelona and Argentina forward took 41.33 percent of the votes by national team coaches and captains, and journalists, adding to his four consecutive awards from 2009 to 2012, followed by the Portuguese and Real Madrid forward (27.76 percent), with Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar third (7.86 per cent).
“It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d’Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win,” said the 28-year-okl Messi as he accepted the award at the end of a drawn-out 90-minute ceremony.
“It’s incredible this is my fifth. This Ballon d’Or means more than I could have ever dreamed of as a child.”
Five major titles for Barca last year — leaving none for Ronaldo’s Real — brought the golden ball back into Messi’s hands.
His victory continued the duopoly of the award he enjoys with Ronaldo that has lasted since Brazilian Kaka claimed top honours in 2007.
“We have always had a good relationship,” said Messi about his rivalry with Ronaldo. “We share a profession, we have our day-to-day battles because we are playing for different teams, but it is more in the press that they compare us for one reason or another.
“On our part, there has always been admiration and respect.”
Messi was the star player as Barcelona won the treble of Champions League, La Liga and Spanish Cup last season, before also adding the Club World Cup last month.
Although he became the first ever player to win the award five times, Messi had said earlier that he woidd swap all those individual accolades for a World Cup success.
“Team awards are more important than individual ones,” he said, before adding that the World Cup “is every player’s objective, it’s really the pinnacle”.
Messi and his Argentina team-mates came close to winning the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 but were beaten 1-0 by Germany in the final.
Barcelona’s Luis Enrique was voted coach of the year while United States World Cup winner Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the final against Japan, was named women’s player of the year.
Jill Ellis of the US took the women’s coach of the year award.
Enrique edged out Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola and Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli while Ellis won ahead of two men — Japan coach Norio Sasaki and Mark Sampson, who led England to third place at the World Cup.
Messi lost out in the Puskas Award for most beautiful goal to Wendell Lira of Brazil. Lira’s bicycle kick for Goianesia against Atletico-GO in a league game topped an online poll that logged more than 1.6 million votes.
Initially started as the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1991, it became known as the Ballon d’Or after merging with France Football’s European footballer of the year award in 2010.
The breakdown presented by FIFA also revealed tactical voting among the 165 national team coaches, 162 national team captains and 171 media representatives who cast votes.
Messi, eligible to vote as Argentina captain, named Barca team-mates Luis Suarez, Neymar and Andres Iniesta as his top three.
Portugal captain Ronaldo choose three Real team-mates — Karim Benzema, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale.
Belgium captain Vincent Kompany opted for his compatriots Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne as his top two.
More surprisingly, Spain captain Iker Casillas — the former Real goalkeeper who now plays for Portuguese club Porto — was among those who did not vote.
A players’ vote organized by international union FIFPro gave a World XI of: Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil, Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain), Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid); Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid), Paul Pogba (France, Juventus); Messi, Neymar and Ronaldo.
Despite a red carpet and plenty of glitz, the event had a low-key air of predictability about it and was held against the backdrop of FIFA going through the worst corruption crisis since it was founded in 1904.
The sport is facing criminal investigations in both Switzerland and the United States, where some leading FIFA officials are among 41 individuals and sports entities who have been indicted on corruption charges.
Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, normally a central figure in the ceremony, was not involved after being banned for eight years by the Ethics Committee in December and there was no President’s Award, usually given out by Blatter for outstanding services to the game.
Past recipients have included Pele, former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson, the Haiti national team, Queen Rania of Jordan and South African anti-apartheid activist and veteran cleric, Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Four of the five candidates competing to succeed Blatter in the Feb 26 election attended on Monday: Prince Ali bin al-Hussein, Jerome Champagne, Gianni Infantino and Tokyo Sexwale. Only Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim al Khalifa skipped the event.
Acting president Issa Hayatou played a low-key role, reading a brief speech before the start and appearing on stage when the awards for best player and women’s player were presented.
He noted the election meeting in Zurich where 209 member federations will also vote on restructuring and modernising the embattled body.
“After these last few difficult months we can now focus fully on the main mission that is FIFA’s,” Hayatou said in French, referring to developing the game worldwide.
FIFA dedicated its Fair Play Award to “clubs and associations helping refugees”.