ZURICH (AFP) – Lionel Messi was on Monday awarded the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or at a star-studded ceremony in Zurich, the third consecutive year that he has won the prestigious award for the world’s outstanding footballer.
The 24-year-old Barcelona and Argentina forward finished ahead of his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo and Barca team-mate Xavi.
“It’s a great personal pleasure for me,” said Messi.
“It’s the third time I’ve won it. It’s just an amazing honour. I want to thank everyone that’s been involved with me — my team-mates, trainers, physios, the coach (Pep Guardiola) and everyone at Barcelona.
“I’d also like to thank the Argentina national team as well.”
Messi becomes only the second player, after Michel Platini, to win the award for three consecutive years.