Jan 10, 2011


Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi won FIFA's Ballon d'Or award on Monday as the world's best player of 2010.

Messi won the trophy for a second straight year, finishing ahead of Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.

"It's a very special day for me," Messi said through a translator on receiving the award at a gala ceremony in FIFA's home city.

The 23-year-old Messi helped an exciting Barcelona team retain its Spanish league title and lead the standings again this season.

Messi's trademark tricky play was often mesmerizing and he scored 58 goals for the Catalan club in 2010. However, he had a disappointing World Cup in South Africa, failing to score. Iniesta and Xavi, by comparison, starred for eventual winner Spain.

"I didn't expect to win it today," Messi said. "Already it's a source of happiness to be here with my friends and even more to win it."

Messi obtained 22.65 percent of the votes cast by coaches and captains of national teams plus invited journalists. The original shortlist featured 23 players.

Andres Iniesta finished second with 17.36 percent and Xavi received 16.48 percent to finish third for the second straight year.

All three candidates learned their craft at Barcelona's La Masia youth academy.

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