Lionel Messi has been voted the best football player on the planet and awarded the Ballon d’Or for the fourth year in a row. He managed to hold off strong challenges from his teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid front man Cristiano Ronaldo.
It caps a wonderful 2012 for the Argentinean Barcelona striker who set the new official record for the most goals scored in a calendar year for 2012.
Ronaldo in particular will feel hard done by as he also missed out on the award to Messi in 2011. Ronaldo would undoubtedly be considered the best player in the world if Messi did not exist.
Iniesta was also nominated for the 2010 Ballon d’Or meaning he joins Ronaldo in having missed out on the title to Messi two times in the last three years. Xavi was the third player to make the final shortlist in 2011.
Messi received over 40 per cent of the votes to become the clear winner of the 2012 award and his exploits over the past year have led many to describe him as the best player to have ever graced football.
He was also nominated for the award in 2007 and 2008 where he made the final shortlists missing out to Kaka in 2007 and Ronaldo in 2008.
Messi’s exploits mean that Xavi and Iniesta are almost certain to be confined to the category of the greatest ever football players never to win a Ballon d’Or award.
Such is Messi’s significance in modern football, it has led to his teammate Dani Alves saying that for as long as the award exists and for as long as Messi is playing, it doesn’t make any sense to give it to anyone else.
Xavi, Iniesta, Theirry Henry and many more who could have rightfully carried this title have been eclipsed by the Argentina superstar.
Following his record breaking fourth Ballon d’Or last night, adidas have compiled a video celebrating his achievement: