The FIFA Ballon d’Or was awarded for the first time this evening, with Lionel Messi and Marta being crowned king and queen of the football world.
Between 16.30 and 18.00, Zurich’s lucky inhabitants got a glimpse of the stars on show on the red carpet in front of the city’s Kongresshaus. It was a unique opportunity for a close-up look at the players, coaches, former icons and previous award winners present.
Former Netherlands striker Marco Van Basten announced the FIFA/FIFPro World XI for 2010. The players in question were Iker Casillas, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol, Maicon, Lucio, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Wesley Sneijder, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa, all of whom received a lengthy and deserved round of applause from the gallery.
This year’s FIFA Fair Play award went to Haiti’s U-17 women’s national team, who carried on bravely despite the worst kind of suffering, loss and pain following the devastating earthquake of January 2010.
Silvia Neid has been named FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football, while Jose Mourinho was awarded FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football.
One of South Africa’s struggle stalwarts who fought for the emancipation of South Africans during the era of apartheid, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was honoured with the prestigious FIFA Presidential Award.
After the audience had been treated to a video showing the ten magnificent strikes in the running for the accolade, a clearly elated Hamit Altintop won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of 2010.
Marta was named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year for the fifth time. Finally, Lionel Messi was named the first-ever winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, beating Barcelona team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi to the prize.
As the action-packed day ended, it was time for the protagonists to catch their flights home and for the decor to be packed away at the Zurich Kongresshaus. On FIFA.com, meanwhile, it is time for all of you to tell the world your thoughts on the inaugural FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala.