Messi nets Ballon d´Or hat-trick
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has claimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the third year running, being named the best player in 2011 in Zurich on Monday.
Messi beat team-mate Xavi and rival Cristiano Ronaldo to win the illustrious award.
The Argentine forward was the clear favourite to claim the title after helping Barca to a third straight La Liga title in 2011 and a second Champions League success in three years.
Messi beat team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi to the award in 2010, even though his colleagues had starred for Spain in their World Cup success in South Africa.
This time around there appeared little doubt he would claim the prize, as the undoubted star of a Barca side dominating domestically and on the continent in 2010-11.
Barca claimed La Liga and the Champions League last term, losing out to Real Madrid only in the final of the Copa del Rey in April, when Ronaldo rose to head the winner and secure his side’s first silverware since 2007-08.
Messi enjoyed the last laugh over his Portuguese rival in 2011, however, claiming five trophies overall with Barca as the Catalans picked up the Spanish Supercopa, the UEFA Super Cup and the World Club Cup later in the year.
The 24-year-old has now drawn level with three-time winners Michel Platini (the only other player to win three in a row), Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten.
Mon 9 January, 2012