Messi Bags Fifth Ballon d'Or Award

Argentina and Barcelona footballer Lionel Messi was named world player of the year 2015 at a FIFA gala in Zurich and claimed the Ballon d’Or trophy for the fifth time overall.

Messi reclaimed the award after watching his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo walk off with the prize for the previous two years.

The Argentine, who finished ahead of Ronaldo and Brazil forward Neymar, had previously won it four years in a row from 2009 to 2012.

Messi helped Barcelona win a Spanish league, cup and Champions League treble plus the Club World Cup and also led Argentina to the Copa America final, where they lost to Argentina.

“It’s incredible, much more than anything I dreamed of as a kid,” said Messi as he received the award.

“I want to thank my team mates, without them none of this would have been possible.”

Barcelona’s Luis Enrique was voted coach of the year.

US World Cup winner Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the final against Japan, was named women’s player of the year.

Ronaldo ended last season without a trophy with Real Madrid although he helped Portugal qualify for Euro 2016.

Neymar won a treble alongside Messi at Barcelona but had less happy time with Brazil, receiving a four-match international ban after he was sent off during the Copa America.

The ceremony, at the Zurich Kongresshaus theatre, was held against the backdrop of FIFA going through the worst corruption crisis since it was founded in 1904.

The sport is facing criminal investigations in both Switzerland and the US, where some leading FIFA officials are among 41 individuals and sports entities who have been indicted on corruption charges.

Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, normally a central figure at the ceremony, was not involved after being banned for eight years by the Ethics Committee in December.

There was no President’s Award, traditionally awarded for outstanding services to the game.

Blatter was replaced by acting president Issa Hayatou who played a low-key role, reading a brief speech before the start of the ceremony and appeared on the stage when the awards for best player and women’s player were presented.

2015 winners 

FIFA Ballon d’Or: Lionel Messi 

FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year: Carli Lloyd 

FIFA Puskás Award: Wendell Lira 

FIFA World Coach of the Year (Men’s): Luis Enrique 

FIFA World Coach of the Year (Women’s): Jill Ellis 

FIFA FIFPro World XI: Neuer, Silva, Marcelo, Ramos, Alves, Iniesta, Modric, Pogba, Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo

FIFA Fair Play Award: All football organisations supporting refugees

 

Source: Agencies