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Messi wins fifth Ballon d'Or
ThinkSpain , Monday, January 11, 2016

Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the fifth time.

The 28 year old beat fellow Barça player Neymar and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to the title of world's best player.

The prize has been awarded to either Messi or Ronaldo for the past eight years. Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar all play in Spain's La Liga.

Messi had a spectacular 2015 and there was little doubt that the award was heading his way again this year. He scored 52 goals in 61 games - equating to one goal every 101 minutes - and added 26 assists to his tally. He also scored in all six club tournaments in 2015, helping Barcelona win five of them including the Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League triple.

Ronaldo scored 57 goals in as many games - including a record 16 Champions League goals in 2015 - but that was not enough to win him a fourth Ballon d'Or.

Barcelona striker Neymar, 23, was the first Brazilian to finish in the top three since Kaka won the 2007 award. He scored 45 goals in 62 games and is joint top scorer in this season's La Liga with 15, level with team-mate Luis Suárez.

"It's a very special moment for me to be back here on this stage, winning again another Ballon d'Or after seeing Cristiano win it," Messi said. "It's incredible that it's my fifth. Much more than anything I would have dreamed of as a kid."

United States midfielder Carli Lloyd, who scored a hat-trick in the World Cup final against Japan, including a sensational strike from the halfway line, won the women's award.

England coach Mark Sampson was beaten to the women's football coach of the year award by United States boss Jill Ellis.

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique won the world coach of the year award after leading his side to five of the six trophies on offer in 2015, including the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey. He beat Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola, who was second, and Chile's Copa America-winning coach Jorge Sampaoli to the award.

Real Madrid had as many players as Barcelona in the FIFA 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.

The world XI looked like this:
Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, Pogba, Iniesta, Modric, Marcelo, Silva, Ramos, Alves, Neuer.

The Puskas award for the best goal of the year went to Atletico Goianiense's Wendell Lira for a spectacular overhead kick in Brazil's Goiano state league game against Goianesia. Barcelona star Lionel Messi's run from halfway and finish in the Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao finished second, with Roma full-back Alessandro Florenzi's 55-yard goal against Barça third.

Past Ballon d'Or winners    
2014: Cristiano Ronaldo
2008: Cristiano Ronaldo
2013: Cristiano Ronaldo
2007: Kaka
2012: Lionel Messi
2006: Fabio Cannavaro
2011: Lionel Messi
2005: Ronaldinho
2010: Lionel Messi
2004: Ronaldinho
2009: Lionel Messi
2003: Zinedine Zidane

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