Argentina’s Lionel Messi collected the FIFA Ballon d’Or, his second consecutive title, while Brazil’s Marta continued her winning streak by claiming her fifth FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala held at the Zurich Kongresshaus on Monday evening. Meanwhile, José Mourinho, the Portuguese coach of Real Madrid, and Germany’s women’s national team coach Silvia Neid were the inaugural winners of the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football awards, respectively.
These awards were decided after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men’s (for the two men’s football awards) and women’s (for the two women’s football awards) national teams as well as international media representatives selected by France Football voted for candidates in each of the four categories. The votes from each of the three groups counted for one-third of the final result.
It was a night to remember, with on-stage appearances by former and current football stars, top celebrities and a performance by musician by Jamie Cullum to mark the first-ever awarding of the FIFA Ballon d’Or following an alliance to combine the FIFA World Player of the Year award with the France Football Ballon d’Or agreed by FIFA and the Amaury Group in Johannesburg in July 2010.
Messi had an outstanding 2010, winning the Spanish league with his club Barcelona. Messi obtained 22.65% of the votes, ahead of his club team-mates Andrés Iniesta (17.36%) and Xavi (16.48%).
Marta thrilled fans in the Women’s Professional Soccer League in the USA, where she won the Golden Boot and was elected best player of the season with FC Gold Pride. She collected 38.20% of the votes, ahead of Germany’s Birgit Prinz and Fatmire Bajramaj, who received 15.18% and 9.96%, respectively.
Mourinho, who led Inter Milan to the UEFA Champions League, the Italian Serie A and the Italian cup before moving to Real Madrid in the summer of 2010, won with 35.92% of the votes, ahead of Spanish national coach Vicente del Bosque, who received 33.08%, and Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola (8.45%).
Meanwhile, Silvia Neid, coach of current world champions Germany, led the women’s coach category with 24.06% of the votes, ahead of Germany’s U-20 women’s team coach Maren Meinert (18.26%) and the Swedish coach of the USA women’s national team Pia Sundhage (11.68%).
The FIFA/FIFPro World XI to honour the best eleven players of the year 2010, as chosen by over 50,000 professional players from all over the world, went to a “dream team” consisting of Iker Casillas (Spain) in goal; Maicon (Brazil), Lúcio (Brazil), Gerard Piqué (Spain) and Carles Puyol (Spain) in defence; Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain) and Andrés Iniesta (Spain) in midfield; and Lionel Messi (Argentina), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) and David Villa (Spain) up front.
The FIFA Puskás Award for the “most beautiful goal” of the year as voted for on FIFA.com by over one million fans was also handed out. This prize, created in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, went to Turkey’s Hamit Altintop for his fantastic goal in the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying match between Kazakhstan and Turkey played in Astana on 3 September 2010.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu received the FIFA Presidential Award from President Joseph S. Blatter for his outstanding commitment to youth development worldwide and his contribution to the use of football as a catalyst for positive social change, as well as for the support he gave to the hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, the first one on African soil.
The FIFA Fair Play Award was given to the Haiti U-17 women’s team, who had to endure many hardships following the earthquake which struck their country in January 2010, during which their head coach sadly passed away. The team showed great courage to make it to the final round of the CONCACAF qualifiers for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2010, where their performance was applauded by the fans despite their eventual elimination. The award was collected by the captain of the team, Hayana Jean-François.