LEO MESSI WON the Ballon D’Or last night.
The Argentina forward was on a three-man shortlist with Barcelona team-mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Despite Spain’s triumph at the World Cup in South Africa last summer, the little No 10 took the individual prize. And typically, Messi seemed genuinely surprised, despite scoring 60 goals for club and country in 2010.
“To be honest, I didn’t expect to win today, but it was already great to be here next to my two mates,” Messi said as he accepted the award. “To win it makes it even more special.
“I want to share with all of my friends, my family, all the Barcelonistas and the Argentinians.”
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho had earlier been named FIFA World Coach of the Year.
Mourinho won Serie A, the Champions League and Coppa Italia with Inter Milan in the 2009-10 season and has made an impressive start to life at the Bernabeu.
In his acceptance speech, Mourinho paid tribute to Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque and Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola, who had been shortlisted for the award.
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia, he also reserved special praise for the players and staff at Inter.
“I’m the best coach in the world for 2010 because I was the coach of the best team in the world in 2010. “We were a family and we continue to be a family. I continue to be part of it from afar.”
The Fifa Ballon d’Or was created following the merging of France Football magazine’s European Footballer of the Year prize with the FIFA World Player of the Year award. It is awarded based on votes cast by journalists from around the world and coaches and captains of national teams.
Messi was the holder of both titles and so joins the former Brazil forwards Ronaldo and Rivaldo and France legend Zinedine Zidane as a multiple winner of the latter accolade.
The Irish vote was cast by Paul Kelly and Jimmy Magee. They went with a 1-2-3 of Xavi-Snijder-Messi. It’s hard to argue with that in my book.
We asked the FAI why neither Trap or Robbie Keane voted but have yet to receive an answer.
You can see the full ballot here, but we’ve expertly circled their decision below.
There was, however, disappointment on the night for Irish part-timer Matty Burrows.
His crazy backheeled volley against Portadown lost out in the goal of the year category – The Puskas Award – to Hamit Altintop’s volley for Turkey against Kazakhstan.
It’s not bad I suppose:
Award list in full
Men’s Player of the Year: Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina).
Women’s Player of the Year: Marta (FC Gold Pride, Santos and Brazil).
Men’s Coach of the Year: José Mourinho (Inter and Real Madrid).
Women’s Coach of the Year: Silvia Neid (Germany).
World XI: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid and Spain); Maicon (Inter and Brazil), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona and Spain), Lucio (Inter and Brazil), Carles Puyol (Barcelona and Spain); Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain), Xavi (Barcelona and Spain), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan and Holland); Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal), David Villa (Barcelona and Spain), Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina).
Puskas Award (Goal of the Year): Hamit Altintop (Kazakhstan v TURKEY).
Fair Play Award: Haiti Women Under-17s.
Presidential Award: Desmond Tutu.