At Monday’s Ballon d’Or gala at Zurich’s Kongresshaus, Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi was named the world player of the year for the third time in a row.
Messi became only the fourth player in history to be awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or three times, and only the second to win it three consecutive times. The FC Barcelona forward won with 47.88 percent of the votes ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez.
While accepting the award, Messi said, “It is a huge pleasure and honor to win my third award. I wanted to share it with those who voted for me, my coach and my team-mates at Barca and in the Argentina national team.
“Moreover, I want to share this award specially with my friend Xavi. This is the fourth time that we are are together at this ceremony and it is a pleasure for me to be with him on the pitch. This Ballon d’Or is also yours. Without your help I would not be here.”
In return Xavi had nothing but great things to say about 24-year-old Messi.
“He’s still young, only 24, and I think he’s going to break all the records that exist in this sport. He’s going to be one of the best footballers in the history of the sport.”
Messi was named one of the most influential people of 2011 on the Time 100 list. In 2011, he also became the highest paid player in history.
Way to go, Leo!