Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona and Argentina has won the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or award for the best player of 2010.
This sees the Argentine retain the award for the footballer of the year: In 2009, he was the undisputed winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the Ballon d’Or prize, which have this year merged into one single title.
Messi thus becomes one of a rare few to win the award twice in a row, beating club teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta, both of Spain, in the process.
Former Netherlands striker Marco Van Basten was named the FIFA/FIFPro World XI for 2010.
The players in question were Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Maicon, Lucio, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Wesley Sneijder, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa, all of whom received a lengthy and deserved round of applause from the gallery.
The 201 FIFA Fair Play award went to Haiti’s U-17 women’s national team, who carried on bravely despite the worst kind of suffering, loss and pain following the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
Silvia Neid has been named FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football, while Jose Mourinho was awarded FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football.
One of South Africa’s struggle stalwarts who fought for the emancipation of South Africans during the era of apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu has been honoured with the prestigious FIFA Presidential Award.
After the audience had been treated to a video showing the ten magnificent strikes in the running for the accolade, a clearly elated Hamit Altintop won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of 2010.
Marta has been named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year for the fifth time.