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Messi claims World Player of the Year award for second straight year

Lionel Messi with the FIFA Ballon d'Or award at the ceremony in Zurich.
Lionel Messi with the FIFA Ballon d'Or award at the ceremony in Zurich.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Lionel Messi wins FIFA Ballon d'Or as the World Player of the Year
  • Argentina maestro repeating his 2009 triumph in annual poll
  • His Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta others on three-man shortlist
  • Real Madrid and former Inter coach Jose Mourinho wins Coach of the Year award

(CNN) -- Lionel Messi was named World Player of the Year for the second straight year Monday, pipping Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi to the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or.

Argentina star Messi is the first footballer to win the global award for two years in row since Brazil's Ronaldinho claimed the honor in 2004 and 2005.

23-year-old Messi starred as Barcelona retained Spain's La Liga title and has continued his heroics as they lead the standings this season.

He scored no less than 60 goals for his club and country in 2010.

Iniesta and Xavi share a midfield partnership for the Catalan giants and both played a key role as Spain won the World Cup, with Iniesta scoring the only goal of the final as they beat the Dutch 1-0.

Messi won with 22.65 percent of the votes cast, with Iniesta on 17.36 percent and Xavi third with 16.48percent.

To tell you the truth, I did not expect to win today, to win it makes a very special day
--Lionel Messi
Sepp Blatter on 'wonderful' Messi
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He said he had been surprised to win the award again.

"To tell you the truth, I did not expect to win today, to win it makes a very special day," Messi told the audience at the gala ceremony in Zurich, which was hosted by CNN's Pedro Pinto.

This year was the first for the FIFA Ballon d'Or.

It is an amalgamation of FIFA's World Player of the Year and France Football magazine's Footballer of the Year award, which started back in 1956.

Earlier, Jose Mourinho was named Coach of the Year for leading Inter Milan to an historic treble of Champions League, Serie A and Italian Cup.

Have your say on Blatter's decisions

Portugal's Mourinho, who took charge of Real Madrid in the summer, beat off the challenge of Vincente Del Bosque, Spain's World Cup coach, and Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

Brazilian Marta took the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year for the fifth successive year.

Turkish international Hamit Altintop won the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of 2010, his superb volleyed strike ending the hopes of part-time player Matty Burrows of Glentoran.

Part-timer took on the elite of world football

Burrows, whose spectacular backheeled volley became a big hit on YouTube, was mixing it with the elite of world football, among them Messi, from a selection of 10 spectacular goals.

But football fans picked Altintop's goal for his country in a European Championship qualifier against Kazakhstan.