Messi makes it hat-trick of FIFA Ballon d'Or gongs

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has been awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the third successive year.

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has been awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or for the third successive year.

The 24-year-old Argentina striker beat team-mate Xavi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to the title of the world's best player.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Xavi both paid tribute to Messi.

"Critics have always questioned whether players like Pele from the 50s could play today," said Ferguson.

"The answer to that is great players would play in any generation. Lionel Messi could play in the 1950s and the present day, as could Di Stefano, Pele, Maradona, Cruyff because they are all great players.

"Lionel Messi without question fits into that category."

Xavi agreed with Ferguson, saying: "He's still young, only 24, and I think he's going to break all the records that exist in this sport."He's going to be one of the best footballers in the history of the sport."

 
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