by ‘Ifreke Inyang
In achieving this feat, the Barcelona forward becomes the fourth player in history to win the plaque three times. Messi beat perennial rival, Ronaldo and team-mate, Xavi to the top prize . He got 47.88% of votes in the survey among national team coaches, captains and selected media, with Ronaldo taking 21.6% and Xavi 9.23%.
Messi was voted the man of the match in the 2011 Champions League final victory over Manchester United and also won the La Liga, Spanish Supercopa, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup last year.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United’s coach, won an award for his contribution to football, while Pep Guardiola won Coach of the Year. Neymar’s brilliant solo effort against Flamengo won the Goal of the Year ahead of Rooney’s spectacular overhead kick and Messi’s strike against Arsenal.
The other awards went to Japan – the women’s World Cup-winning captain, Homare Sawa for the women’s Player of the Year, the Japanese manager, Norio Sasaki won the Coach of the Year award for women’s football while the Japanese FA was also awarded the Fifa fair play award.