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Messi wins record 4th world's best player award


February 20. 2013 1:07AM
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(AP) Lionel Messi became the first four-time winner of the FIFA Player of the Year award after shattering the world record with 91 goals last year for Barcelona and Argentina.


The 25-year-old won for the fourth straight time, beating Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta in voting announced Monday.


Abby Wambach became the first American to win FIFA Women's Player of the Year since Mia Hamm in 2001 and 2002. Pia Sundhage was voted top women's coach after leading Wambach and the U.S. team to the gold medal at last summer's London Olympics.


Messi received 41.60 percent of the points in votes by national team coaches and captains plus selected media. Ronaldo got 23.68 percent and Iniesta 10.91 percent.


To tell the truth, this is really unbelievable to get the fourth award. I am so nervous, Messi said in Spanish, wearing a black tuxedo jacket with a white-spotted pattern in an unexpectedly flamboyant touch.


Zinedine Zidane of France and Ronaldo of Brazil were voted FIFA Player of the Year three times before the award merged in 2010 with France Football's Golden Ball, given to the European player of the year. The Golden Ball, or Ballon d'Or, was won three times by Michel Platini of France and Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten of the Netherlands.


The 32-year-old Wambach edged teammate Alex Morgan and five-time winner Marta of Brazil in the voting by national team coaches and captains. Wambach received the trophy from teammate Hope Solo.


She scored five goals in London as the U.S. won its third straight Olympic title. She has 152 international goals, six shy of Hamm's record.


Associated Press


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