Leo Messi wins his third Ballon d'Or and Catalan Josep Guardiola is awarded the best manager of 2011
The Argentinean star is named by FIFA as the best player of 2011. This is Messi’s third straight Ballon d’Or Award. Messi equals Platini, Cruyff and Van Basten, the only players to ever win three Ballon d’Or titles. The Barça boss, who won 5 titles with FC Barcelona in 12 months, beat last year's winner, José Mourinho, and Sir Alex Ferguson. Guardiola dedicated the title to his assistant coach, Tito Vilanova. Besides, 5 Barça players are in the FIFA's Best Eleven of the Year: Alves, Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi. Two of them are Catalan and four are home grown players.
Zurich (FCB).- At the age of 24, Leo Messi equals the record set by the Frenchman Michel Platini after winning three consecutive Ballon d\u2019Or titles (2009, 2010 and 2011). Ronaldo handed the Argentinean the FIFA Ballon d\u2019Or this Monday afternoon in Zurich (Switzerland). Messi won the title thanks to votes placed by captains and managers of all the national sides and journalists from France Football. Furthermore, the legend of Pep Guardiola continues to grow. This Monday, in Zurich, the FC Barcelona boss was named the best manager of 2011. The Catalan was voted the best manager ahead of José Mourinho (Real Madrid), last year\u2019s winner, and Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United). Besides, 5 Barça players are in the FIFA's Best Eleven of the Year: Alves, Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi. Two of them are Catalan and four are home grown players.
\u201CXavi, this Ballon d\u2019Or is yours as well\u201D
With the Ballon d\u2019Or in his hands, Barça Player Leo Messi wanted to share the award \u201Cwith the people that voted for me and with my teammates.\u201D But he also made a special dedication to Xavi Hernández, a regular to the FIFA Gala in recent years: \u201CWe\u2019ve shared this moment for four years. This Ballon d\u2019Or is also yours. Without your help I would not be here.\u201D
The youngest player to ever win three Ballon d\u2019Or titles
Besides equalling Michel Platini as the second player in the history of the Ballon d\u2019Or to win the title three times in a row, Leo Messi also equals Johan Cruyff and Marco Van Basten, who have also won three Ballon d\u2019Or titles, albeit not consecutively. In 2009, Messi won the Ballon d\u2019Or and the FIFA World Player, awarded by France Football and FIFA respectively. The following year, 2010, both entities decided to combine the award and call it the FIFA Ballon d\u2019Or. Leo Messi was the first winner of the new award,and two other Barça players Iniesta and Xavi finished behind the Argentinean.
Final Ballon d'Or standings
Leo Messi: 47,88%
Cristiano Ronaldo: 21,6%
Andrés Iniesta finished fourth and Wayne Rooney, fifth.
Barça coach, Pep Guardiola, awarded the Best Manager of the Year
Josep Guardiola, winner of five titles this season with FC Barcelona in 12 months, beat out last year\u2019s winner, José Mourinho, and Sir Alex Ferguson. Like the FIFA Ballon d\u2019Or, votes were placed by national side managers (33%), national side captains (33%) and the press (33%)
13 out of 16 team titles
Pep Guardiola, who was recently named the world\u2019s best manager by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), picks up yet another acknowledgement to his brilliant career. Guardiola has already won 13 out 16 possible titles with FC Barcelona, 5 of which were won in 2011.
Special dedication for his assistant, Tito Vilanova
Upon receiving the award, Josep Guardiola started by saying that he wanted to share the award with the other two short-listed finalists, Mourinho and Ferguson. He also made special mention of the \u201Cthousands of people that have worked for FC Barcelona over the past 100 years.\u201D He went on to say that \u201Cit\u2019s an enormous privilege to be part of this group of people.\u201D
However, the most important dedication was for Guardiola\u2019s assistant coach, Tito Vilanova, who has recently gone through surgery: \u201CFrom the bottom of my heart I want to dedicate this award to Tito Vilanova, my friend, colleague and assistant. Even though you aren\u2019t around much these days, you\u2019re always there. This is for you, kid!\u201D