Messi wins record fifth Ballon D’or as Lira pips Lionel in Puskas Award

Messi wins record fifth Ballon D’or as Lira pips Lionel in Puskas Award

It was inevitable, it would have been considered abominable had it not happened at Monday night’s gala at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, Switzerland. Widely regarded as the greatest player of his generation, Lionel Andres Messi, took his fifth, and deserved, FIFA Ballon d’Or ahead of his great nemesis, Cristiano Ronaldo, and team mate, Neymar.

The Barcelona maestro received 41.33 per cent of the votes cast by international captains, managers and journalists around the world, after what was an extraordinary 2015 in which the Blaugrana won five trophies, including, La Liga, Copa del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

For the last two years, the Argentine had seen Ronaldo, who garnered 27.76 per cent this time out, scoop the award. But with a trophy haul and 52 goals in 61 games for club and country in 2015, and performances so mesmerizing, including a wonder solo goal against Atheltic Bilbao in last season’s Copa del Rey final that missed out on Puskas Award, there was no stopping a player who is certainly getting better in his prime.

Brazilian Wendell Lira won the Puskas Award for his spectacular bicycle kick, while playing for Goianesia against Atletico Goianiense, to pip Messi, who is yet to win the award, and Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi, who scored an incredible long range effort against Barcelona.

Although Ronaldo and Neymar may have missed out on the gong, they were, obviously, included in the FIFA FIFPro World XI alongside Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neur, PSG’s Thiago Silva, Paul Pogba of Juventus, Real Madrid’s Marcelo, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric, and Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Andre Iniesta.

FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award went to United States’ Carli Lloyd, who led her country to 2015’s Women’s World Cup victory in Canada. In second place was Germany’s Celia Sasic while third place was taken by Japan’s Aya Miyama.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique won the World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award ahead of his predecessor and current Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola and Chile national team manager, Jorge Sampaoli, whereas Jill Ellis of the United States scooped the women’s equivalent, beating Norio Sasaki of Japan and England coach Mark Sampson.

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