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Sports

Messi becomes first player to win Ballon d’Or five times

media Messi holds the World Player of the Year award during the Fifa Ballon d'Or … REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Lionel Messi won Fifa’s Ballon d’Or prize for the world’s best player on Monday. It was the Barcelona star’s fifth Ballon d’Or after the Argentine player secured 41 per cent of the vote. Messi helped Barcelona win the Champions League, La Liga and Spanish Cup last season.

“It’s a very special moment for me,” said Messi after receiving the prize at a ceremony in Zurich. “To be back here on the stage, winning again, another Ballon d'Or, after being there in the audience watching Cristiano [Ronaldo] win for the last two years,” he added.

Messi took the Ballon d’Or from 2009 to 2012 and this year dethroned three-time winner Ronaldo who took 28 per cent of the vote. Messi himself voted for his Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.

“It’s incredible that it’s my fifth, it’s much more than anything I dreamed of as a kid,” said Messi. “I want to thank all those who voted for me first of all. I also wanted to thank, obviously, my teammates, as I always say, without them none of this would have ever been possible.”

Messi becomes the first ever player to win the award five times, although he is yet to win a World Cup. Argentina came close to winning in Brazil in 2014, but were beaten by Germany in the final.

“I want to thank football, in general, for everything it has brought me - both the bad and the good - because it’s made me grow and learn always,” said Messi.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique won manager of the year award and Jill Ellis, who helped guide the US to women’s World Cup glory, took the woman’s trophy.

Carli Lloyd won the Fifa women’s player of the year award. She scored a hat-trick for the US in the World Cup final against Japan. She also scored winning goals for the US in the Olympic Games finals in 2008 and 2012.

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