October 28, 2016

Lionel Messi wins Ballon d’Or for record fifth time

Lionel Messi wins record fifth Ballon d’Or. FC Barcelona and Argentina’s forward Lionel Messi poses with trophy after receiving the 2015 FIFA Ballon

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or for an unprecedented fifth time.

The Barcelona forward reclaimed the biggest individual accolade in world football at a lavish ceremony in Zurich on Monday, beating Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the three-time winner whom he has been runner-up to for the last two years.

Messi also finished ahead of his fellow Barça front-man Neymar after a calendar year in which the Catalan club claimed five titles.

The Argentina international Messi, who scored 48 goals for his club in 2015, said after being presented with the award by the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner, Kaká: “It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d’Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win.

“It’s incredible this is my fifth. It’s much more than anything I dreamed of as a kid.

“I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I want to thank my team-mates. Without them none of this would be possible.

“Lastly I want to thank football in general for everything it has brought me, both the bad and the good, because it has made me grow and learn.”

In other awards USA’s Carli Lloyd capped a brilliant 2015 by taking home the award for women’s player of the year.

Lloyd faced competition from Germany’s Celia Sasic and the Japan midfielder Aya Miyama but her performances at last year’s World Cup – including a brilliant hat-trick in the final – helped secure her the award for the top female player in the world.

Lloyd is the third American to take home the award – Abby Wambach won in 2012 and Mia Hamm got the nod twice, in 2001 and 2002. Brazil’s Marta has the most wins with five.

Lloyd has scored 79 goals in 211 appearances for USA and was recently made captain of the national team. Her goal from the halfway line in the World Cup final was also nominated for goal of the year.

Awards in full

Women’s world player of the year: Carli Lloyd

Puskas award: Wendell Lira

World coach of the year for men’s football: Luis Enrique

World coach of the year for women’s football: Jill Ellis

World XI: Manuel Neuer; Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves; Andrès Iniesta, Luka Modric, Paul Pogba; Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Fifa fair play award: All football organisations supporting refugees.

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