> The youngest player to win two Ballon d'Ors
> Six Barça players in the World XI
> Barça's eighth Ballon d'Or
dimarts, 11 de gener de 2011
Contrary to all expectations, Leo Messi has won FIFA's Ballon d'Or award for player of the year, presented yesterday in Zurich, Switzerland.
Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández were rumoured to be the favourites after their contribution to Spain's World Cup victory. In the end, however, the prize went to the Argentinean forward, who was also last year's winner.
The winner was announced in Catalan by Barça's manager Josep Guardiola. Messi's shock upon hearing his name read out by was plain to see; looking shy and surprised, he spoke of how he had not expected to be chosen this time.
The winner of the Ballon d'Or is decided by journalists worldwide, together with the captains and managers of the national teams. Messi received 22.65% of the vote, followed by Iniesta with 17.36% and Xavi with 16.48%.
Aside from the award's immediate implications, this year's Ballon dOr also means worldwide recognition for La Masia, the cradle of Barça's youth academy, where all three finalists were once coached.
The youngest player to win two Ballon d'Ors
Despite not being this year's favourite to win, nobody can dispute that Leo Messi is the world's best football player (if not the best of all time). At just 23 years old, the Barcelona forward is the youngest player to have won two Ballon d'Ors. The last player to win two consecutive awards was A.C. Milan's Marco van Basten, in 1988 and 1989. Van Basten is one of three football players to have received three awards, together with Michel Platini and Johan Cruyff. With a long career still ahead of him, it is possible that Messi could catch them up, or even overtake them.
Six Barça players in the World XI
Yesterday, in Zurich, FIFA also announced the 2010 team, which included six Barça players: Carles Puyol, Gerard Piqué, and David Villa, as well as Leo Messi, Andrés Iniesta, and Xavi Hernández. Three players from Inter Milan (Lúcio, Maicon and Wesley Sneijder) and two from Real Madrid (Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo) completed the World XI.
Barça's eighth Ballon d'Or
Messi's Ballon d'Or is the eighth for Barça, putting them on a par with the other two teams (both Italian) to have been awarded the most: Juventus and A.C. Milan. Barça's first winner was Luis Suárez in 1960, followed by Johan Cruyff in 1973 and 1974. In 1994, it was awarded to Hristo Stoichkov; in 1999, to Rivaldo; in 2005, to Ronaldinho; and last year, to Messi.
> Una selecció de gols de Messi.
> Esbós biogràfic de Luis Suárez, el primer Pilota d'Or blau-grana.
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