Monday January 9 2012
Messi matches Platini

Michel Platini saw Lionel Messi match his record for consecutive Player of the Year wins at the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.

The outright favourite to do so, Barcelona forward Messi picked up the FIFA Ballon d’Or after being voted the best player of 2011 by his fellow professionals.

In collecting the award for the third consecutive time, he is the first player to match Platini’s record that was achieved in the mid-1980s during his spell with Juventus.

Udinese’s Antonio Di Natale was the only Italian nominated in the original 50-player shortlist for this year’s edition of the men’s award.

Meanwhile, Messi’s Coach at the Camp Nou, Pep Guardiola, picked up the Coach of the Year award, whilst Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson was awarded a the FIFA Presidential award for services to football.

Elsewhere, no Italian national or player from Serie A made FIFA’s World XI - a team selection of the best players as voted for by their peers. The team was dominated by players from Barcelona and Real Madrid, with only Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney breaking the duopoly.

It was further disappointment in the FIFA Puskas award for Serie A’s hopefuls as Neymar’s effort for Santos against Flamengo was voted by the public as the best goal of 2011, ahead of efforts by Dejan Stankovic and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.