Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or award for the world’s best player for the fifth time.
The Barcelona forward reclaimed the biggest individual accolade in world football in Zurich on Monday, beating Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, the three-time winner he has been runner-up behind for the last two years.
He also finished ahead of fellow Barca frontman Neymar after a calendar year in which the Catalan outfit claimed five titles.
Argentina international Messi, who scored 48 goals for his club in 2015, said after being presented the award by 2007 Ballon d’Or winner Kaka: “It is a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d’Or after being there in the audience watching Cristiano win.
“It’s incredible this is my fifth. It’s much more than anything I’ve dreamed of as a kid.
“I want to thank everyone who voted for me and I want to thank my team-mates – without them none of this would be possible.
“Lastly, I want to thank football in general for everything it has brought me, both the bad and the good, because it has made me grow and learn.”
Ronaldo scored more goals than Messi over the calendar year, netting 54 for Madrid, but it was not enough for his side to win any silverware.
Messi secured 41.33 per cent of the vote, with Portugal hitman Ronaldo getting 27.76 per cent and third-placed Brazil striker Neymar 7.86 per cent.
Messi and Neymar helped Barca win the Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble in 2015, plus the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
United States midfielder Carli Lloyd claimed the women’s world player of the year gong.
Carli scored a hat-trick in the final against Japan, including a sensational strike from the halfway line. She earned the Golden Ball for best player in the tournament.
Former Germany striker Celia Sasic finished second despite retiring halfway through 2015 at the age of 27. In the first half of the year she was top scorer in the World Cup with six goals and won the Champions League with Frankfurt.
Third was Japan midfielder Aya Miyama, 30, captained her country to the World Cup final, where they lost to the USA.
Lloyd said:”It has been a dream ever since I started with the national team. Keep your dreams and just go after them.”
Barcelona’s coach Luis Enrique won the men’s world coach of the year award as he came ahead of his predecessor, Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola.
Enrique led his side to five of the six trophies on offer in 2015, including the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
Chile’s Copa America-winning coach Jorge Sampaoli came third.
In the category for world coach of the year for women’s football, England boss Mark Sampson was beaten to the award by United States counterpart Jill Ellis.
Jill led her country to World Cup glory in the summer.
Second was Japan coach Norio Sasaki, whose side beat England in the semi-finals, but lost to USA in the final.
England coach Mark Sampson finished third with 10.68% of the vote after their third-place finish in Canada.
“It is a true honour,”said Ellis.” To Fifa, to our own federation, thank you for your belief, your vision and your investment in women’s football.”
Atletico Goianiense’s Wendell Lira won the goal of the year award for a spectacular overhead kick in Brazil’s Goiano state league game against Goianesia.
Messi’s run from halfway and finish in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao was second, with Roma full-back Alessandro Florenzi’s 55-yard goal against Barca third.
The Fair play award winner announced by Former Leeds and South Africa captain Lucas Radebe went to – all football clubs and organisations supporting refugees.
Real Madrid had as many players as Barcelona, four, in the world team of the year despite not winning a trophy.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was German champions Bayern Munich’s only representative. The Premier League was the only of Europe’s top five leagues to not have anyone in the team.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, Germany)
Defenders: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil), Marcelo (Real Madrid, Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain), Dani Alves (Barcelona, Brazil)
Midfielders: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, Spain), Luka Modric (Real Madrid, Croatia), Paul Pogba (Juventus, France)
Forwards: Neymar (Barcelona, Brazil), Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Portugal)
LIST OF WINNERS —–
Ballon d’or winner: Lionel Messi
2015 FIFA Female Player Of The Year: Carli Lloyd (USA)
2015 FIFA Coach Of The Year: Luis Enrique (Barcelona)
2015 FIFA Female Coach Of The Year: Jill Ellis (USA)
201 FIFA Puskas Award: Lira Wendell (Goianesia, Brazil)