March 8, 2013
WITH NO SURPRISE TO ANYONE IN THE WORLD OF FOOTBALL, BARCELONA AND ARGENTINA FORWARD LIONEL MESSI HAS BEEN AWARDED THE BALLON D’OR FOR A FOURTH YEAR RUNNING.
Still a young player, relatively speaking, at 25 years of age Messi hit 91 goals during 2012 and beat team mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid’s Ronaldo to the trophy. Despite Messi’s goal haul his club, the Catalan ants of football, failed to win ether the Spanish League title or Champions League last year. Abby Wambach won the women’s award, and Vicente del Bosque the coach accolade, while the team of the year was made up only of players from Spain’s La Liga.
Phil McNulty, Chief football, writes on the BBC Sport web site:
“Ronaldo and Iniesta would be fitting and worthy winners in any era. This, however, is not any era – it is the Lionel Messi era.”
Messi was announced as the winner of the Ballon d’Or, the award given to the world’s best player, during a ceremony held in Zurich. He was the favourite of the three man shortlist for the prize, which is voted for by journalists, and national coaches and captains. Iniesta and Ronaldo were unlucky again and had to settle for the world’s best nominations but second best to goal machine Messi. He becomes the first player to win four consecutive Ballons Or, breaking the record he jointly held with former France international, and current UEFA president, Michel Platini. Whatever you may think of Platini as a football administrator, the Frenchman was a superb player in his day. Messi was, understandably, delighted:
“To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable,” said the Argentinian. “The fourth award that I have had is just too great for words. I would like to recognise my other colleagues from Barcelona. Andres, it has been great to train and play alongside you.”
Well said Lionel, after all it is a team game and you do need other players around you
The Huffington Post site gave us the stats:
Messi – 41.6% of the votes, with Ronaldo taking 23.68% and Iniesta 10.91% – was favourite to win after surpassing Germany striker Gerd Mueller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year from 1972. He netted 79 goals for Barcelona, plus another 12 for Argentina, in 69 games for club and country.
Just can’t beat that, especially when we consider a 20 goal a season striker to be on every clubs most wanted list at any level of the game.
Messi also featured in the team of the year, which was made up of 10 players from Barca and Real Madrid plus Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao; an all Spanish affair with no player from the Premier League or any other of the World’s top leagues or teams.
FIFA World team of the year: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid), Lionel Messi (Barcelona).
Chelsea may have taken the European crown, but no player from the London club could make it to the World list. Despite the five Barcelona players in the World team the Spanish club failed to lift any domestic or Euro silverware. USA forward Wambach was named women’s world player of the year, the first American to win the award since Mia Hamm in 2002.
Del Bosque and Pia Sundhage collected the men’s and women’s coaching gongs for their work with Spain and USA respectively. Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, who left Barca in May to take a year’s sabbatical from the game, finished behind Del Bosque. At a news conference before the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Guardiola confirmed he plans to return to management next season. The Spaniard, 41, stepped down after winning 14 trophies in four years, including two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles.
What a record! Any Russians taking note I wonder? I am sure at least one will take note of this from Guardiola:
“I will return next season because I am young, but I have been living the kind of life that I wanted and one that my family also deserved,” said Guardiola, who has relocated to New York with his wife and children. Don’t put the house up for sale Pep, in the event your time in London could be short(ish) lived if past records are anything to go by.
The Puskas Award for goal of the year went to Fenerbahce’s Slovakian striker Miroslav Stoch for his strike against Genclerbirligi in March.
Franz Beckenbauer received the FIFA Presidential Award and Uzbekistan won the fair play accolade for their disciplinary record.
PS: Like the outfit Lionel! Not difficult to spot!