22 Dec 2009

Lionel Messi finally claims world footballer of the year title

3:16 pm on 22 December 2009

The Barcelona star Lionel Messi has become the first footballer from Argentina to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

The accolade came after the playmaker won four major titles with Barcelona -- the Champions League, the Club World Cup, La Liga and the King's Cup.

The other players on the shortlist were last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal, former winner Kaka and Messi's Barcelona team mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Messi was leading scorer in the Champions League, scoring nine goals including one in the 2-nil win over Manchester United in the final.

He also notched the extra-time winner in the Club World Cup final against Estudiantes on Saturday.

The award, introduced in 1991, is voted by the coaches and captains of the national teams.