Messi: It was a wonderful surprise

Sporting a disbelieving look but smiling all the same, Lionel Messi joked at how heavy the newly presented FIFA Ballon d’Or felt. After his Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola offered to take it home for him, the Argentinian magician stepped down from the stage and spoke about his triumph to FIFA.com.

FIFA.com: Lionel, how are you feeling?
Lionel Messi: I’m happy, but I didn’t expect it because everyone had been talking so much about Xavi and Andres [Iniesta]. They also deserved it for the wonderful year they had. They won the World Cup, which usually goes a long way to deciding who wins this award, and they both had big parts to play in that. That’s why I thought one of them would be going up to collect the trophy. It was a wonderful surprise.

How do you think they are feeling?
I don’t think they’re sad about it. It was a great thing for the three of us and the club to have got this far. I think we all enjoyed the gala.

You obviously feel they deserved to win it, but what do you think tipped it in your favour?
Well, the people who voted decided to choose me and I’m very grateful for that. This is my second world player of the year award and I feel just as happy as I did the first time, if not more so. We’re going to enjoy it.

It was a great thing for the three of us and the club to have got this far. I think we all enjoyed the gala.
Messi on Iniesta and Xavi

Did you feel that your performances at South Africa 2010 might have worked against you?
Yes. We didn’t have a bad World Cup but we didn’t achieve the goal we’d set ourselves, which was to be champions. That was the one big regret I have from last year.

Can you make up for it in this year’s Copa America?
That’s our next goal at international level and it’s in Argentina too. It would be great for the country, the fans and for us too because it will allow us to have a more relaxed build-up to the next World Cup.

It would also be something of a relief for you after all the criticism you’ve attracted with La Albiceleste.
Yes it would. I want to achieve something big with the national side and this would be a great opportunity to do just that.

Who are you going to dedicate the award to?
To all my team-mates for helping me to win it, to my family and to everyone who supports me.