Lionel Andres Messi

Lionel Andrs Messi

Messi named Ballon d’Or winner

Argentina’s Lionel Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or.

The talented Barcelona forward beat last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second place in the poll for Europe’s footballer of the year, organised by France Football magazine.

Messi, 22, becomes the sixth Barcelona player to take the award but the first for four years - since Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho.

Messi recently signed a two-year contract extension with the European champions until 2016 - an improved deal which includes a buy-out clause worth 250million euros.

The Argentinian won an unprecedented treble last season as the Catalan side won the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Copa del Rey.

Messi was the top scorer in last year’s Champions League with nine goals, including a header in the 2-0 final defeat of Manchester United in Rome.

Messi told France Football: 'There’s lots of emotion - the Ballon d’Or is very important for me. I know I appeared among the favourites because Barcelona had a profitable year.

‘For me it’s a big honour to win - but also to become the first Argentinian in history to receive the trophy. I dedicate it to my family, they were always present when I needed them and sometimes felt even stronger emotions than me.’

Messi polled 473 votes, more than double the number Real Madrid’s Ronaldo totalled (233) and 27 more than the impressive number the Portuguese international managed in winning last year’s award.

Ronaldo was the only non-Barcelona player in the top four, with Xavi (170) and Andres Iniesta (149) next in the list.

Former Barca striker Samuel Eto’o - now with Inter Milan, was fifth on 75, 17 votes clear of Real’s former AC Milan playmaker Kaka.

Barcelona’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who moved in the opposite direction to Eto’o, polled 50 - before a quintet of English-based players.

Manchester United and England striker Wayne Rooney and Chelsea forward Didier Drogba were eighth and ninth, with Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard completing the top 10.

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres was 11th, Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas 12th, with Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs - who netted his 100th Premier League goal at Portsmouth on Saturday, finishing 14th.

Barcelona’s Thierry Henry, heavily criticised for his handball in France’s World Cup play-off win over the Republic of Ireland, completed the top 15.

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic shared 16th place with eight points alongside Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

Atletico Madrid’s Diego Forlan polled seven and Bordeaux striker Yoann Gourcuff six, while Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin and Chelsea counterpart Frank Lampard shared 21st with five alongside Inter keeper Julio Cesar.

Inter Milan’s Maicon (four), Juventus’ Diego (three), Valencia’s David Villa and Chelsea defender John Terry (two), and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery and Barcelona’s Yaya Toure (one) completed the star-studded list.

A most deserving winner.

Interesting comment in Sid Lowe’s preview of the game at the weekend that every winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award since 1996 has played for Barca or Real Madrid either while winning the award or immediately afterwards.

No idea why Rooney is getting more votes than Torres for 2009 though.

Since the award was created in 1956, some 42 players have had the honour of being named as the best player in the world. Here is the complete list.

1956 Stanley Matthews
1957 Alfredo Di Stefano
1958 Raymond Kopa
1959 Alfredo Di Stefano
1960 Luis Surez
1961 Omar Sivori
1962 Josef Masopust
1963 Lev Yachin
1964 Denis Law
1965 Eusebio
1966 Bobby Charlton
1967 Flrin Albert
1968 George Best
1969 Giovanni Rivera
1970 Gerhard Mller
1971 Johan Cruyff
1972 Franz Beckenbauer
1973 Johan Cruyff
1974 Johan Cruyff

1975 Oleg Blokhine
1976 Franz Beckenbauer
1977 Allan Simonsen
1978 Kevin Keegan
1979 Kevin Keegan
1980 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
1981 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge
1982 Paolo Rossi
1983 Michel Platini
1984 Michel Platini
1985 Michel Platini
1986 Igor Belanov
1987 Ruud Gullit
1988 Marco van Basten
1989 Marco van Basten
1990 Lothar Matthus
1991 Jean-Pierre Papin
1992 Marco van Basten
1993 Roberto Baggio
1994 Hristo Stoichkov
1995 George Weah
1996 Matthias Sammer
1997 Ronaldo
1998 Zinedine Zidane
1999 Rivaldo
2000 Luis Figo

2001 Michael Owen
2002 Ronaldo
2003 Pavel Nedved
2004 Andrii Shevchenko
2005 Ronaldinho
2006 Fabio Cannavaro
2007 Kak
2008 Cristiano Ronaldo
2009 Leo Messi

Only found out today that this award was open to European players only until 1995, which makes Messi the first Argentinian to win the award.

Think we’re finally getting some real class players again.

No offence to Nedved but there was a real shortage in pure world class talent at the start of this decade. Owen wasn’t brilliant in 2001 and Ronaldo had a great world cup in 2002 but he’d played fuck all matches in two years just before then.

I’d have expected Zidane to have won it more than once.

A prize for Bara’s youth policy

Messi joined Bara at the age of 13. His innate talent combined with a consistent style of football have created an incredible player. The first Golden Ball to emerge from the Bara academy.
But it wasnt an easy ride for the young Leo Messi. After just two matches with infantil B, he suffered a serious ankle injury that kept him on the sidelines for the rest of the season. He then missed half the following season due to an appeal by his former club, Newells Old Boys in Argentina, which delayed the arrival of his international transfer.

Those difficulties, combined with the brusque change from his hometown of Rosario to Barcelona, were a tremendous obstacle to overcome for a shy and reserved youngster.

The breakthrough
The international transfer eventually came through and the 2002-03 season was a turning point in his career. He was a vital element in the cadet A side that won everything going and where he coincided with Piqu and Cesc.

Messi started the following season in juvenil B, but his talent was so outstanding that he was moved up a category. That year he moved to juvenil A, to Bara C and to Bara B. And to round off a fantastic year he made his first team debut in a friendly against Porto. The sky was the limit for Leo Messi.

Albert Benaiges, currently Baras coordinator of youth football, told Bara TV: That achievement is a lesson for all players. Ive never seen anyone with such humility and good taste for playing football who accepts to play where hes told without ever protesting and with such happiness and love for the Club.

A long awaited moment
Leo Messi will never forget 2004. On 16th October, in a local derby against Espanyol, Leo Messi finally made his first team competitive debut. Two months later on 7th December, he played his first Champions League match in the cold of the Ukraine against Shakhtar Donetsk. Then he scored his first senior goal against Albacete. The Messi era had begun.

I wonder what its like playing for Barca “C” team. Is it like the UCC Juniors or something, just to give fellas a chance to wear the jersey? Or is it just full of 16 year olds.

I think it’s a lot like playing for TFK Astro Reserves. A mixture of young kids and some lesser players (such as Tinnion) but a commitment to the ethos of TFK.

Messi or Zlatan? Who’s better?

Ah, that makes it clear.
Personally the weather would swing it for me down to Barca, but only just.

Do you think you’d get some handy part time work as well while you togged out for Barca C’s?

Messi is better than Zlatan, but there is no shame in that. What a strike force, when they get used to each other it could be the end of European football as we know it. Awful shame they got rid of Eto though, i’d like to see that front 3.

This answers your question
Click on link

Eto’o doesn’t belong in the same company as Messi and Zlatan and Guardiola rightly moved him on. I don’t think Messi’s reached the heights of the last couple of seasons so far in this campaign but he’s still been a cut above almost everyone else and thoroughly deserved the award in any case for his achievements in the latter half of last season.

how has the centre half bought from shaktar played so far? he injured at the moment?..never really seen him play…

He’s been pretty poor so far. I thought he was a real stand out at Shakhtar but he’s taking a while to settle in.

Ryan Giggs overlooked. :mad:

is he a footballing centre half or a Vidic type bruiser?..

[quote=“Pikeman”]This answers your question
Click on link[/quote]


I thought i was going to see some goals.fucker.

I wouldn’t have said he was either specific type really - he always struck me as being very good positionally who was generally in the right place to make interceptions. Good in the tackle, pretty commanding without being a blatant bruiser, decent in the air and good on the turn. He’s looked sluggish on a few different occasions for Barca though and has punted the ball away a bit too. The latter should improve with time once he realises Xavi, Iniesta et al are completely comfortable receiving the ball to feet even when some cunt is practically up on their back. It’s the pace issue that stood out for me, however.

[quote=“Rocko”]Think we’re finally getting some real class players again.

No offence to Nedved but there was a real shortage in pure world class talent at the start of this decade. Owen wasn’t brilliant in 2001 and Ronaldo had a great world cup in 2002 but he’d played fuck all matches in two years just before then.

I’d have expected Zidane to have won it more than once.[/quote]

I’d agree with that.

I would also say that Nedved, while a very good footballer, was not at that very highest level.

marco van basten won it 3 times. zlatan has yet to get in top 5… its ridiculous to even compare them.