ZURICH — Lionel Messi won his second straight FIFA player of the year award Monday, becoming the first repeat winner since Ronaldinho in 2004 and 2005.
The Argentine forward beat out Barcelona teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta for the renamed FIFA Golden Ball Award, which merged the FIFA player of the year with France Football's Golden Ball.
Messi received 22.65 percent of the votes cast by national team coaches and captains plus selected reported. Iniesta followed with 17.36 percent and Xavi received 16.48 per cent to finish third for the second straight year. All three finalists were part of Barcelona's La Masia youth academy.
Eight of the 20 winners of the FIFA award have come from Barcelona, which also won with Brazilians Romario (1994), Ronaldo (1996 and 1997), Rivaldo (1999) and Ronaldinho.