Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been crowned the world’s best player for the third successive year.
The Barcelona and Argentina forward received the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for 2011, beating his club teammate Xavi Hernandez and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid. The 24-year-old becomes only the fourth player in history to win the trophy three times, along with Dutch legends Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten, plus Frenchman Michael Platini. Messi dedicated the award to his coach and team-mates, reserving special mention for Xavi. The award was formed when the Ballon d’Or merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2010 and is voted for by national team coaches and captains, as well as a panel of football journalists selected by France Football magazine. Pep Guardiola, as expected, also won the FIFA Coach of the Year and graciously shared it with his fellow nominees.
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