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Messi wins fourth consecutive Ballon d'Or, Wambach named Women's World Player of the Year

To no one’s surprise, Lionel Messi has once again been labeled the greatest player in the world.

Messi was named the winner of the 2012 Ballon d’Or on Monday, beating Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta to claim the award for a fourth consecutive year. Messi won the award for his amazing 2012 showing, one that saw him score 91 times en route to breaking Gerd Muller’s 40-year record of goals scored in a calendar year.

On the women’s side, U.S. Women’s National Team forward Abby Wambach was named the Women’s World Player of the Year. Wambach helped the Americans win the Olympic gold medal this past summer and also moved six goals shy of Mia Hamm’s career total of international goals of 158. Wambach edged out U.S. teammate Alex Morgan and Brazilian striker Marta for the award.

Former U.S. Women’s head coach Pia Sundhage also took home some hardware, as she claimed the FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year award.

You can see who every national team coach, captain and journalist voted for in the Ballon d’Or here, and here is a full rundown of all the awards handed out during Monday’s ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland:

FIFA Ballon d’Or: Lionel Messi

FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year: Abby Wambach

FIFA Puskas Award: Miroslav Stoch

FIFA Coach of the Year: Vicente del Bosque

FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year: Pia Sundhage

FIFA / FIFPro World XI:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Defenders: Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Radamel Falcao, Cristiano Ronaldo

FIFA Presidential Award: Franz Beckenbauer

FIFA Fair Play Award: Uzbekistan Football Federation

64 comments
  • el paso tx wants NASL

    And messi is only getting better……….. too bad barbie christiano. By the way I would love to see messi in mls agaisnt christiano. Messi in cosmos and christiano in galaxy

    Like

    • another steveo

      No. Spanish and Catalan, and mailed them only to Madrid and Barcelona addresses.

      Like

    • Eurosnob

      Actually, it’s not a bad list of top 11 players with the possible exception of defenders. I would have picked the same players at the keeper (Casillas is one of the top keepers in the world and he won Euro and La Liga titles) and forward positions – Messi, Ronaldo and Falcao definitely belong on the list (I know technically Ronaldo is a left mid, but it’s not crazy to classify him as a forward). Iniesta and Xavi have to be included as midfielders. One could possibly question the inclusion of Xabi Alonso, but he was an important contributor to Spain’s Euro title and to Real’s La Liga title.

      Like

    • louisz

      FIFA top 11 all play in the La Liga, what does that tell you?

      10 of the 11 players play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid. No wonder the clasico es the best game to watch.

      Like

      • MLSsnob

        Or are they best BECAUSE they play in Madrid and Barcelona? Did I just blow your mind?

        Like

    • Old School

      “Great coaches manage great players to great achievements.”

      -Phil Jackson (not an actual quote)

      Like

  • Dinho

    Barcelona: 5 players
    Real Madrid: 5 players
    Athletico Madrid: 1 player

    I’m no conspiracy theorist, but this just seems strange….

    Like

    • Nate

      Well Dinho, my good man, I AM a conspiracy theorist and it is not strange it’s a CONSPIRACY! Let the witch hunt for the tainted ballots begin!

      Like

    • Bobb

      Who would you replace?
      Who does Van Persie or Zlatan replace from a front three of Messi, Falcao, Ronaldo?

      Like

      • THomas

        Forward line, hard to argue against those three. But you’re telling me Alves and Marcelo is the best fullbacks in the world? Come on (Cole, Lahm, Baines to name a few).

        The midfield is hard to argue with too, but Pirlo on an undefeated Juve and with numerous Ballon D’Or votes can’t break in ahead of Alonso or Xavi?

        Like

      • Camjam

        And Ramos as one of the 2 best CB in the world? He’d good, but he is also a red card waiting to happen and can get bossed in the air.

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      • THomas

        Good point he may be the first to go. He’s better than Kompany or Vidic?

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      • Philbin

        For my money, Marcelo and Alves are the two best in the world. Think about it, after the top 2-3 players on each side, depth is very scarce at fullback.

        LB: Marcelo, Cole, Evra, Baines… uh, Keiran Gibbs? No way.
        RB: Alves, Lahm, Ivanovic… Arbeloa? Maybe the other two warrant a look, but the pickins are slim.

        I refuse to list Zabaleta. Admittedly, I may be slightly biased as a Brazilian.

        Like

    • Camjam

      I’d be mad if I were him too. Truth be told, he had the better year. He isn’t a better player, but for the time frame the vote was for (2011-2012 season, votes cast by Nov. 15), he had the better year. Won La Liga, matched Barcelona in CL play, and had 46 League goals to Messi’s 50. If he weren’t such a Diva all the time, maybe he’d have a chance.

      Like

      • Nate Dollars

        it’s not for the 2011-2012 season, it’s for the 2012 calendar year. if it were for the 2011-2012 season (which makes more sense, soccer-wise) i think cristiano would have won it (easily, probably).

        Like

  • A bitter Canuck

    LOL Wambach?!?! What a joke! I guess you deserve that award if you cheat a referee into handing you’re team a penalty shot to get you into the Olympic final… In order for women’s soccer to succeed, they need the USA to continue to be on top. That’s why she won the award, that’s why the US was handed their semi final victory over Canada in the Olympics.. Anybody that fallows women’s soccer knows that Christine Sinclair is on a different level.. Sorry all you Alex Morgan fans. Sinclair does much more with a weaker supporting cast.. But I suppose in order for women’s soccer ever to become mainstream the USA needs to be successful.. So congrats Wambach, you really deserve it..

    Sincerely, your friends to the North

    Like

    • Shane

      Sinclair is indeed a great player and probably would have won it if she wasnt such a poor sport – much like you. It is her own fault she did not get nominated. Wambach got punched in the face by a player earlier in the olympics, something that is actually cheating, and look at how much class and restraint she showed about it. Did she call a ref a cheat for not red carding the player? Did the US call the ref a cheat for not red carding Mellissa Tancredi for deliberately stomping on Carli Loyd’s head? Yes, that 6 second call is not common but it has been made before in womens’s pro soccer – in a game many of those same USA and Canadian players were in, including your goalie.

      “cheat a referee into handing your team a penalty” or you kidding me, what a distortion of what actually happened. Maybe if your goalie would have simply played soccer rather than time wasting, thing would have turned out differently.

      Like

      • Marc Toulouse

        I hear you, but then again.. this happened in the final.

        In case you’re wondering, that’s the USA handball during the gold game.

        It’s one thing to claim crazy when it seems crazy, it’s another to notice a call being made that is questionable, while one that is blatant ignored.

        Like

      • Marc T

        Also, agree about Tancredi, It was dirty and should of been called. But that happens in the game. I lost a lot of respect for her after that.

        But I’m also concerned about what role Nike might play in US women’s soccer. If there’s one thing i’ve learned about the world is that when it comes to making money, nothing is out of bounds. I’m sure nike et all had a lot to lose should the US women not make the finale.

        That’s all I’m saying. You guys have far more to lose (Money!) then we did.

        Like

    • Weston John

      If FIFA is tampering with games to get the US to win major tournaments, I guess they sure messed up the 2011 World Cup. And it is amazing that FIFA was able to get Morgan to head in that winning goal against Canada…how did they do that? And how did FIFA get the coaches, team captains and journalists in each country to vote for Wambach for POY? FIFA must really be a powerful institution!

      Like

    • Eurosnob

      Sinclaire was one of the best players in the Olympics and definitely deserved consideration for the award, but suggestion that Canada did not win the Olympics because of pro US bias by the refs does not hold water. The refs allowed Canadian players to lunge in reckless tackles without carding them and should have definitely sent Tancredi off after she stomped on Carli Lloyds head at the start of the second half. The refs were really bad, but I don’t think they were biased. In the semis, the best team won. As for Canada, they finished third in its group and ended the Olympic tournament with 2 wins, 3 losses, and 1 draw and no medals.

      Like

    • Alex

      As a Canadian fan I’m embarrassed at how much Canadians have been complaining about that game. Stop being such a sore loser.

      Like

    • Strider257

      I thought it was his post-Christmas elf imitation. The ear sure looks pointy! OK, so he’s a little big for an elf, but that’s OK.

      Like

  • Bobb

    How about updating the photo to a happy Messi holding the trophy? This is from the press conference beforehand, hence the street clothes.

    Like

    • Jerrod

      i like the picture. he’s got a kind of “i wish they’d make these things smaller, i’m running out of room in my garage” look going.

      Like

  • Bobb

    I love looking at the ballots, here are the votes of interest to US fans.

    USA Captain Carlos Bocanegra: Messi Lionel Cristiano Ronaldo Falcao Radamel
    Egypt Coach Bob Bradley: Cristiano Ronaldo Messi Lionel Pirlo Andrea
    USA Coach Juergen Klinsmann: Messi Lionel Pirlo Andrea Cristiano Ronaldo
    USA Media Paul Kennedy: Messi Lionel Cristiano Ronaldo Falcao Radamel

    Like

  • Eric

    Wow…I’m a goalkeeper, and am wondering why some of the keepers with ballots voted the way they did…

    Lloris voted for Casillas, Falcao, and Drogba.
    And Casillas voted for Sergio Ramos, CR7, and Xavi. Yeah, no bias there at all.

    Dat be ridiculous.

    Like

    • Bobb

      “haters gonna hate”

      Pathetic that Casillas, who from all reports is a great guy, couldn’t bring himself to vote for Messi in the top three just because of the Real Madrid vs Barca thing.

      Good thing there are over 500 voters!

      Like

  • Chris2

    Interesting that Spanish Captain, Coach and Media couldn’t find a place for Messi in top 3 . . .

    Like

  • Colin Reese

    Messi is great at taking defenders left and finishing in tight spaces inside the box and hitting baby chips over keepers, but Ronaldo, Zidane, and Ronaldinho were much more dynamic players that had more versatile skill-sets.

    Like

  • Colin Reese

    The FIFA FIFPro World XI unfairly excluded Thiago Silva, Pirlo, and Ibrahimovic.

    Like

  • Wally

    I have no problem with Messi, but shouldn’t he lead Argentina to something big before we proclaim him one of the best of all time? Thinking Maradona, Pélé, Beckenbauer, Zidane. They’re considered great because—beside their skill—they achieved on both the national and club level.

    The way some people go on about Messi you’d think he’s Jesus or a hot chick.

    Like

    • Smacking

      It’s not worth discussing who is THE best, especially not when Messi is still so young. He is certainly already among the best. If you can’t just enjoy the wonder of his play, I feel sorry for you. You’re missing a hell of ride.

      Like

    • Nate Dollars

      really, the only example from your list that’s making your point is maradona, because the other three were on teams that would’ve already been world-beaters (zidane’s case is arguable).

      if messi were to lead this argentina to world cup glory, it would only be comparable to maradona, and would be a greater achievement than any of the other 3 players. and i’m pretty sure it won’t happen.

      Like

  • rs

    Winning on the national and club level should be important, but winning a WCup doesn’t necessarily elevate you (unless you dominate a tournament). From Pelé’s three WCups, it was 1970 that mattered (in 1958 Didí was the star, 1962 Pelé only played a few matches), along with his success at Santos in the 1960s. Same for Maradona in 1986 (vs. 1990’s 2nd place) and his career at Barcelona and Napoli, or Zidane in 1998 (vs. 2006 finalist) and his success at Juventus and Real Madrid.

    It made me think of other players who are in the conversation of “greatest player” in history, and certainly Messi should take his place alongside of Di Stéfano, Platini, or a defender like Maldini. That made me think of an All Time Starting XI of players who never won a World Cup (excluding players like Messi and C.Ronaldo who still have a shot):
    —Yashin—
    -Marzolini–Myung-Bo–Hierro– Maldini
    -Platini–Zico–Socrates-
    –Di Stefano–
    -Eusebio–Raul–Van Basten-

    I’d take that XI any day.

    Like

  • desalegn

    the award wasn`t deserved to mesi, it should be for christiano ronaldo. the world already knows that R.madrid have snatched up two Spanish cups by the success of Ronaldo and he scores goals over mesi`s team Barca. what happen to the selectors. I strictly believe messi is deserved only once from the four consecutive ballondor winning, the 1st he been awarded should be to weisly seijnider, 2nd and 4th to C.Ronaldo the 3rd is undeniably for him self.

    Like

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