Lionel Messi wins record fifth Ballon d'Or; Luis Enrique top coach

Lionel Messi wins record fifth Ballon d'Or; Luis Enrique top coach
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Published January 12th, 2016 - 00:16 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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FC Barcelona and Argentina's forward Lionel Messi poses with trophy after receiving the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for player of the year during the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on January 11, 2016. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI
FC Barcelona and Argentina's forward Lionel Messi poses with trophy after receiving the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for player of the year during the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or award ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on January 11, 2016. AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi was Monday named world player of the year at a FIFA gala and claimed the Ballon d'Or trophy for a record fifth time while there was further joy for Barcelona as Luis Enrique took the best coach award.

Messi dominated the final three-man shortlist by taking 41.33 per cent of votes from international coaches, players and media, with two-time reigning winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal on 27.76 per cent. Neymar, Messi's Brazilian team-mate at Barcelona, was third on 7.86 per cent.

"This is a very special moment for me," Messi said on receiving the award, which he previously won 2009-2012, at a the Kongresshaus in Zurich. "It's incredible that it's my fifth, so much more than I could've dreamed of as a kid.

"I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I want to thank my team-mates - without them none of this would be possible."

Ronaldo failed to add to his three previous Ballon d'Ors despite finishing top scorer in La Liga. Real Madrid's failure to win anything in 2015 surely hurt his hopes of succeeding again.

Messi on the other hand played in the Barcelona side which swept their way to Spanish League, Spanish Cup, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup titles.

"Every year you want to be better than the year before," Messi said. "We had an exhilirating year and that fills me with pride."

But things did not go all his way despite 43 league goals in the calender year; he lost the final of the Copa America with Argentina and spent time out with a knee injury.

However, in winning by such a convincing margin there is little doubt that those in football consider him best in the world once more.

"Messi has again showed us what a good player he is," Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said from his team's training camp in Doha. "He is at an unimaginable level, every season scores 40-45 goals."

Guardiola himself was nominated for men's coach of the year but lost out to Messi's boss at Barcelona, Luis Enrique, who led the Catalans to their treble in his first season at the club.

"They have earned the prizes," Guardiola said.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli was third in that category having led his country to a first-ever Copa America title.

Midfielder Carli Lloyd of the Houston Rush and the World Cup winning United States women's team won the women's best player award while US coach Jill Ellis won women's coach of the year.

Predictably the World Cup featured heavily on the women's side with coaches Norio Sasaki (Japan) and Mark Sampson (England) second and third while now-retired German Celia Sasic and Japanese Aya Miyama followed Lloyd.

The Puskas award for best goal, voted for by fans online, was won by Brazilian Wendell Lira of Goianesia, for an overhead kick, ahead of Messi and Alessandro Florenzi of Roma and Italy.

The fair play award went to all football organizations helping refugees and was collected by former Germany international Gerald Asamoah, whose father left Ghana for Europe as a refugee.

And the World XI as voted for by members of players' union FIFPro was named as Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich/Germany); Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil), Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain), Dani Alves (Barcelona/Brazil); Andres Iniesta (Barcelona/Spain), Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia), Paul Pogba (Juventus/France); Neymar, Messi, Ronaldo.

© 2015 dpa GmbH

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