Another prestigious trophy will decorate the stunning cabinet of Lionel Messi. The FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) elected the Barcelona superstar as the best player of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2009, presenting him with the adidas Golden Ball and the TOYOTA Award previosuly seized by Edilson, Rogerio Ceni, Deco, Kaka and Wayne Rooney.
adidas Golden Ball and TOYOTA Award: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Lionel Messi began UAE 2009, much to the dismay of his legions of fans, on the bench. With Barcelona drawing with Atlante, however, coach Pep Guardiola summoned the Argentinian genius for duty. The 22-year-old took just seconds to show why he is so revered, scoring a well-taken goal to put his side en route to a 3-1 victory. Thereafter, Messi illuminated the final with his mercurial, exceptional dribbles and, with the game in extra time and in the balance, popped up with the winner.
adidas Silver Ball: Juan Sebastian Veron (Estudiantes)
Juan Sebastian Veron has, evidently, lost none of his class with age. The 34-year-old’s extrasensory vision and rare execution of pass proved an incessant source of torment to Pohang Steelers in the semi-finals, and his ball retention and inteligence were central to Estudiantes leading Barcelona for so long in the final.
adidas Bronze Ball: Xavi (Barcelona)
Xavi tasted defeat in the Japan 2006 decider. The cerebral, composed midfielder made it his personal mission to avoid an identical fate in Abu Dhabi. His invention was a joy to behold in Barça’s 3-1 victory over Altante, and he created a series of chances for his colleagues in the final.
Fair Play Award: Atlante
It may be scant consolation for losing the third-place play-off, but Atlante were duly honoured for their sportsmanship. The Mexicans collected only six bookings in their three appearances, and did not have any players sent off.