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    Mar 2009
    Lonley Planet

    Default Lionel Messi Chosen 'FIFA World Player Of The Year'

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    Barcelona star Lionel Messi has added one more title to his credit as he was named FIFA World Player of the Year on Monday.

    Messi lifted the prestigious award at FIFA's gala ceremony in Zurich, outstripping the last two winners, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, along with his Barcelona teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in voting among national team captains and coaches.

    It caps a perfect year for the winger, who won a number of titles with Barcelona including the Spanish league and cup, and the Champions League. He had also received the Ballon D'Or award as the best player in Europe.

    He was instrumental in the winning of the first Club World Cup for Barcelona on Saturday, where his side beat Estudiantes 2-1 in extra time.

    Messi, who was runner-up for the last two years, received 1,047 points in voting. Ronaldo was second with 352 points, followed by Xavi with 196 points.

    Messi scored 38 goals in 51 matches in all competitions during 2008-2009 season, and has continued with 15 goals in 22 games this campaign.

    Maradona has praised Messi saying that he is the true successor to him on the field. And Messi has already surpassed the former great in terms of successes at club level.

    But his only international triumph was an Olympic gold medal in 2006, and he will have to be at his best to inspire Argentina to a third World Cup title since Maradona in 1986.

    In thethe women's category, Brazil's Marta got the award for the fourth year in a row. The 23-year-old player beat teammate Cristiane, Kelly Smith of England, and Germans Birgit Prinz and Inka Grings to get this coveted title.

    FIFA's fair play award was won by late England player and manager Bobby Robson, while the presidential award for contributions to football and society went to Jordan's Queen Rania. FIFA announced its first World XI men's team, which included six players from the Spanish La Liga and five from the English Premier League.

    Ronaldo was honoured for scoring the best goal in 2009, a 40-meter shot against Porto in last season's Champions League.



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