Barcelona and Argentina forward, Lionel Messi has won the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or . He beat Barcelona and Spanish midfielder, Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid and Portugal forward, Cristiano Ronaldo at the gala held at the Zurich Kongresshaus in Switzerland.
Even though Barcelona did not lift a major trophy in 2012 – the Copa del Rey aside – Lionel Messi continued to go from strength to strength, amassing goals and records along the way. His achievements in 2012 included becoming Barça’s all-time leading goalscorer in official matches when he scored his 233rd goal on 20 March, breaking the record for the number of UEFA Champions League goals in a single season (14) and, with his 82 goals in all competitions, he edges ever closer to breaking the record held by the legendary Gerd Muller (85 goals).
The three-time Ballon d’Or winner was no less impressive for Argentina either, helping them dominate the South American FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
The diminutive Messi has come an awful long way since making his first-team debut for Barça in 2004. In amassing a glittering array of team honours and individual accolades since then, the Argentinian genius has often been compared with his illustrious compatriot Diego Maradona, and has proved a worthy bearer of the famous Albiceleste No10 jersey.
The most elusive of dribblers, Messi has a devastatingly quick turn of pace and a sixth sense when it comes to scoring goals. The winner of numerous titles already with his club, all that is missing on his extensive roll of honour is a FIFA World Cup winner’s medal.
In 2011 he was promoted to the captaincy of his national side, with whom he ended a scoring drought of two years and seven months in official matches, while the Argentinian superstar reeled off the trophies again with Barcelona. The Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Spanish League, FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Champions League all came Barça’s way last year, with Messi ending the continent’s premier club competition as the leading scorer for the third season running.
Messi also picked up the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, ahead of team-mate Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ballon d’Or 2012 Selection
A 23-man shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or was compiled by the FIFA Football Committee and a group of experts from France Football. It was announced on 29 October.
Four days earlier, a ten-player shortlist was unveiled for the FIFA’s Women’s Player of the Year, which was chosen by experts from FIFA’s Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup and a group of experts from France Football.
These have both been reduced to three players for each award, being announced on 29 November. You can read short profiles for each of the candidates below. From the final shortlists, journalists, national coaches and captains voted for the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
Complete list of the winners
FIFA Ballon d’Or: LIONEL MESSI
FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year: ABBY WAMBACH
FIFA Puskas Award: MIROSLAV STOCH
FIFA Coach of the Year: VICENTE DEL BOSQUE
FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year: PIA SUNDHAGE
FIFA / FIFPro World XI:
Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas
Defenders: Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta
Forwards: Lionel Messi, Radomel Falcao, Cristiano Ronaldo
FIFA Presidential Award: FRANZ BECKENBAUER
FIFA Fair Play Award: UZBEKISTAN FOOTBALL FEDERATION