Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Lionel Messi Named FIFA Player of the Year

After finishing runner-up the past two years, forward Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team was named the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year. The top individual honor in the world's most popular sport--and more than a week after being announced, it has still received little attention in the U.S. media.

Well, I care.

The 22-year-old Messi led Barça to an incredible six titles this year -- the UEFA Champions League, Spain's La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, European Super Cup and Club World Cup -- scoring 38 goals along the way.

He defeated last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo by a vote of 1,073-352, with voting coming from captains and head coaches of the men's and women's national teams.

At the beginning of the month, Messi beat Ronaldo for the European Footballer of the Year award by a massive margin -- 473 points to 233 -- and has now succeeded Ronaldo to win the FIFA award.

So while not many in the U.S. pay attention to one of the best athletes in the world, there are definitely some of us who recognize a phenomenal talent in the prime of his career.

Here's to you, Messi.

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