The FC Barcelona star grasped his third successive Ballon D’Or trophy today, beating out teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (who couldn’t attend due to match preparation.)
The Argentinean said at the FIFA World Players Gala, “It is a pleasure and honor to win this for the third time. Thanks to those who voted and all my teammates.”
Congrats to the other two nominees Xavi and Cristiano for having fantastic seasons as well.
Not only was the winner of the Ballon D’Or awarded but so was the FIFA Women’s Player of the Year. The nominees were Abby Wambach (USA), Marta (Brazil) and Homare Sawa (Japan).
This year’s award goes to Homare Sawa of Japan. Sawa led her national team to victory this year in the Women’s World Cup in Germany where she won the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe award.
Sawa’s country of Japan also won the FIFA Fair Play Award due to their reaction of the devastating earthquake and tsunami the country faced earlier in the year.
Mexican legend Hugo Sanchez presented Neymar the FIFA Puskas Award, which is determined by the player with the “most beautiful” goal of the year. Neymar beat out both Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney.
“I am very happy to be part of this party and have been competing with this two great players. I’m very grateful to God and all you. Enjoy this party.”
You can see Neymar’s outstanding goal here!
Now to the coach awards. Let’s start out with the FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year.
The nominees were Bruno Bini of France, Norio Sasaki of Japan and Pia Sundhage of Sweden.
Japan’s Norio Sasaki claimed the award with his efforts of leading his national team to victory when Japan beat the US in the final.
The FIFA Men’s Coach of the Year was won by FC Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola, who managed to win Champions League and the La Liga title last year. Pep beat out MUFC manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.
Guardiola was quite humble after winning the award saying, “I would like to share this award with Mourinho and Ferguson. It is an honor. And all the coaches around the world who share this passion. And also to the thousands of people that over 100 years have worked and develop Barcelona. It is a privilege to be part of such an incredible club. And finally, I would like to dedicate this award to Tito Vilanova, my assistant, my colleague, my friend who can’t be here tonight. This is for you.”
Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t leave the Gala empty-handed. The MUFC legendary manager won the prestigious FIFA Presidential Award, presented by FIFA president Sepp Blatter. “This is very much appreciated. No matter the honor I get, I feel it’s been the recognition for the 25 years of Manchester United. They always shared my vision and passion. I’ve been a very lucky manager. That makes Manchester United such a special club. The courage to play and the courage to try and win is more important than anything.”
Iker Casillas (Spain)
Sergio Ramos (Spain)
Gerard Pique (Spain)
Nemanja Vidic (Serbia)
Dani Alves (Brazil)
Andres Iniesta (Spain)
Xabi Alonso (Spain)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Wayne Rooney (England)
Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and Emilio Butragueno accepted players Xabi Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Cristiano Ronaldo and Iker Casillas‘ awards on behalf of them due to preparation for their match against Malaga this week.
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All photos courtesy of FIFA.com