Messi Wins 5th Ballon d’Or, Beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar 

Lionel Messi reclaimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the world player of the year from rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Barcelona FC and Argentina’s Lionel Messi receives the 2015 Ballon d’Or award. (Photo: Reuters)

Messi Receives His Fifth Ballon d’Or Award

Lionel Messi reclaimed the FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the world player of the year on Monday from rival Cristiano Ronaldo, who had walked off with the award for the previous two years. Messi received the award from Brazilian football legend and 2007 Ballon d’Or winner Kaka.

Lionel Messi (centre) receives the Ballon d’Or from Kaka (right). (Photo: Reuters) 
Lionel Messi (centre) receives the Ballon d’Or from Kaka (right). (Photo: Reuters) 

The Barcelona and Argentina forward took 41.33 percent of the votes followed by the Portuguese and Real Madrid forward (27.76 percent), with Brazil and Barcelona forward Neymar third (7.86 per cent).

It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning another Ballon d’Or, after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win. It’s incredible this is my fifth.

Lionel Messi

Barcelona FC’s Luis Enrique was voted coach of the year for his five-trophy haul with the team, while United States World Cup winner Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick for Houston Dash in the final against Japan, was named women’s player of the year.

Carli Lloyd receives the women’s player of the year award. (Photo: Reuters)
Carli Lloyd receives the women’s player of the year award. (Photo: Reuters)

Brazilian striker Wendell Lira, who plays for Vila Nova, received the FIFA Puskas award for the best goal of the year, beating Messi and Italian mid-fielder Alessandro Florenzi, who were also in the running. Florenzi plays for the Italian serie A club, Roma.

Ballon d’Or Award Low-Key Amidst Corruption Scandal

The Ballon d’Or award is not everyone’s cup of tea and some critics, such as Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, say it is not appropriate in a team sport.

I’m a big enemy of the Ballon d’Or. Who will win it? You know as well as I do that it’s certainly Messi who will win it. I think so. Overall I’m not a big fan of that

Arsene Wenger, Manager, Arsenal

Despite a red carpet and plenty of glitz, the event had a low-key air of predictability about it and was held against the backdrop of FIFA going through the worst corruption crisis since it was founded in 1904.

Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter, normally a central figure in the ceremony, was not involved after being banned for eight years by the Ethics Committee in December and there was no President’s Award, usually given out by Blatter for outstanding services to the game.

Players Don’t Want to Discuss FIFA’s Problems

Ronaldo said the players did not want to discuss FIFA’s problems.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo walks  off the stage, following the declaration of the winner of the player of the year award. (Photo: Reuters)
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo walks off the stage, following the declaration of the winner of the player of the year award. (Photo: Reuters)

We avoid answering this kind of question. We are professional football players, we compete every week, every day, we train and we just focus on that. These things happen not just in football but in life, and the best thing would be no corruption anywhere.

Cristiano Ronaldo

In terms of individual achievement, Ronaldo had slightly better numbers in the last year, scoring 54 goals in 52 games for Real Madrid, compared to Messi’s 48 in 53 for Barcelona.

The Greatest Team on Earth

Who would you pick for your Fantasy Football team, after this year’s debacles and victories? Well, if it were up to the players themselves, here’s what the best team on earth would look like:

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Defenders: Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Dani Alves
Midfielders: Andres Iniesta, Luka Modric, Paul Pogba
Forwards: Neymar, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo

20,000 professional footballers from all over the world have cat their votes over the last few months to put together a team of football legends for the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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