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Lionel Messi and Homare Sawa Win Awards at FIFA Ballon d’Or 2011

Argentina’s Lionel Messi collected the FIFA Ballon d’Or, his third consecutive title while Japan’s Homare Sawa claimed her first FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala held at the Zurich Kongresshaus in January 2012.
Pep Guardiola, the Spanish coach of F. C. Barcelona, and Japan’s women’s national team coach Norio Sasaki were the respective winners of the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football and FIFA World Coach of the Year for Women’s Football.

Messi’s and Guardiola’s F. C. Barcelona side concluded 2011 with victory in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan, sealing another fine year which also included the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Spanish Super Cup and UEFA Super Cup titles.

Lionel Messi won the FIFA Ballon d’Or after polling 47·88 of the votes, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (21·6%) and Xavi (9·23%).

Sawa, winner of the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award, led Japan to the title at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 in Germany, where she also won the adidas Golden Ball as the best player of the competition and the adidas Golden Boot for her five goals.
The FIFA Puskas Award for the ‘most beautiful goal’ of the year as voted for on and by more than 1·5 million fans was also handed out. This prize, created in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskas, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, went to Brazil’s Neymar for his fantastic goal in the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A.

Following is the full list of the awards distributed during the 2011 FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala in January 2012.

FIFA Ballon d’Or : Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona).

FIFA Coach of the Year : Pep Guardiola (Spain/Barcelona).

FIFPro World XI (Best Team of 2011) : Iker Casillas (Spain/Real Madrid); Dani Alves (Brazil/ Barcelona), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia/Manchester United), Gerard Pique (Spain/Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid); Xavi (Spain/ Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Spain/Real Madrid); Andres Iniesta (Spain/ Barcelona); Lionel Messi (Argentina/ Barcelona), Wayne Rooney (England/ Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid).

FIFA Puskas Award (best goal) : Neymar (Brazil/Santos).

FIFA Women’s Player of the Year : Homare Sawa (Japan/INAC Kobe Leonessa).

FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year : Norio Sasaki (Japan/Japan).

FIFA Presidential Award : Sir Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester United).

FIFA Fair Play Award : Japanese Football Federation.

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