Argentina and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or, ahead of two-time winner Cristiano Ronaldo. The FIFA women’s Ballon d’Or was won by American World Cup hero Carli Lloyd.
For the fifth time in his illustrious career, Lionel Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, claiming the top prize ahead of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil’s Neymar.
Messi won 41.33% of the votes, which were taken from national team captains and coaches of FIFA’s 209 member countries, plus selected journalists.
“It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage,” Messi told the audience of football’s elite at the ceremony in Zurich.
“It’s incredible this is my fifth. It’s much more than anything I’ve dreamed of as a kid. I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I want to thank my team-mates. And lastly, I want to thank football in general for everything it has brought me. Both the bad and the good. Because it has made me learn and grow.”
Messi’s award puts the icing on the cake of what was an incredible year for he and his club side, Barcelona, who won five major titles, including the UEFA Champions League. Barcelona head coach, Luis Enrique won the award for Men’s Coach of the Year after the triumphant campaign, ahead of Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola and Chile’s Jorge Sampaoli.
Messi did however lose in one award, being pipped to the Puskas award for Goal of the Year by Brazilian Wendell Lira.
Emotional Lloyd takes Women’s prize
The women’s equivalent for the world’s best player of 2015 went to the United States’ Carli Lloyd, ahead of Germany’s Celia Sasic and Japan’s Aya Miyama.
“Wow. This is truly an honor,” Lloyd, who became the first woman to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final, told the audience in Zurich. “This has been a dream of mine ever since I started my journey with the national team.”
Germany’s Sasic, who announced her retirement from football at only 27, shortly after the World Cup, finished second in voting behind Lloyd.
‘I don’t think there’s an award for the next challenge in my life [her pregnancy]. But I’m looking forward to it.”
The United States capped off a special evening on the women’s side, as national team coach Jill Ellis picked up the award for Women’s Coach of the Year, ahead of England’s Mark Sampson and Japan’s Norio Sasaki
The FIFPro World XI was also announced on Monday evening, with Manuel Neuer the sole representative in the team from the Bundesliga.
Elsewhere, FIFA’s Fair Play award was given to all clubs and associations that had helped to support refugees through the year. Former German international and Schalke legend Gerald Asamoah, whose father was a Ghanaian refugee, picked up the award on behalf of the supporting parties.