|FIFA Men's World Player of the Year 2012 nominee, Argentina's Lionel Messi attends a news conference before the FIFA 2012 Ballon d'Or award ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, on Jan. 7, 2013. (Xinhua/Wang Siwei)|
ZURICH, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Barcelona striker Lionel Messi was awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or prize for the fourth time in a row here on Sunday.
The 25-year-old Argentine beat team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize for the Player of the Year.
It was a record fourth successive trophy for the Argentina star, an unprecedented feat in the history of world football.
"To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable," Messi said. "The fourth award that I have won is just too great for words. I want to recognize my team-mates at Barcelona, especially Andres. It is with great pride that I am beside you today and that you play and train with us."
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque claimed the FIFA Coach of the Year award.
The Euro 2012-winning coach showed characteristic modesty in claiming that the award was recognition for everyone who had helped Spain to claim a record third major championship in a row last summer.
The FIFPRO XI award also proved a major success for the Spanish game, with the entire selection coming from La Liga, with all but one of the players selected coming from Barcelona or Real Madrid.
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