Monday,11 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1130, 10 - 16 January 2013
Monday,11 December, 2017
Issue 1130, 10 - 16 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

More of Messi

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Who else? Argentina’s Lionel Messi collected a record-breaking fourth consecutive title of best player in the world when he was awarded the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Abeer Anwar reports.
Messi won after polling 41.60 per cent of the votes, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo on 23.68 per cent and Andrés Iniesta on 10.91 per cent.
Aged 25, Messi concluded 2012 by scoring over 90 goals. He also finished top scorer in the UEFA Champions League 2011-2012 season with 14 goals.
Messi, who broke the record of three titles in a row held by Frenchman Michelle Platini, is a hero to Egyptian teens and football fans here in general whose shouts rung from cafes and households when Messi’s name was announced.
According to Hassan Shehata, former Egyptian national team coach and currently manager of Qatar’s Arabi club, “Messi deserves to win. He has done his utmost this year and scored a number of great goals that led to victories for his team.”
Amr Makhlouf, a sports editor at Al-Ahram Al-Masaai thought Ronaldo was better. “I think that it was Ronaldo this year. He was better and he deserved to win. It is unfair that Messi keeps winning the title for four consecutive times. We should give equal opportunity to all,” Makhlouf said.
Senior sports editor Alaa Abdel-Hamid was almost sure Messi will be chosen the best. “He deserves it after breaking Gerd Mueller’s season scoring record which stood all these years,” Abdel-Hamid said, referring to Messi breaking the great German Mueller’s 40-year record for the most goals in a calendar year.
According to the FIFA website, US player Abby Wambach claimed her first FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award at the gala held at the Zurich Kongresshaus on Monday evening.
Vicente del Bosque, the Spanish national team coach, and Sweden’s new women’s national team coach Pia Sundhage (former USA coach) were the winners of the FIFA World Coach of the Year awards for men’s and women’s football.
Wambach led the US team to the title at the London 2012 Olympics, where she also won the Adidas Golden Ball as the best player of the competition and the Adidas Golden Boot for her five goals. She collected 20.67 per cent of the votes, ahead of Brazil’s Marta and Alex Morgan from the USA, who received 13.50 per cent and 10.87 per cent respectively.
Del Bosque added the European title to his 2010 FIFA World Cup crown when leading Spain to victory at EURO 2012. He secured the FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football award with 34.51 per cent of the votes, ahead of José Mourinho, the Portuguese coach of Real Madrid, with 20.49 per cent, and former FC Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, who received 12.91 per cent.
Pia Sundhage led the FIFA World Coach of the Year for the Women’s Football category with 28.59 per cent of the votes, ahead of Norio Sasaki (23.83 per cent), coach of the Japanese national team that collected silver at the Olympics in London, and France team coach Bruno Bini (9.02 per cent).
Sundhage and Wambach led the US to its fourth Olympic gold medal in London after defeating the Japanese team in the final and thus exacting revenge for the FIFA Women’s World Cup final the previous year, which Japan won for the first time in their history.
FIFPro, the world players’ union, invited 50,000 professional players from all over the world to select their best team of 2012, the FIFA FIFPro World XI. The honours went to the following all-star squad: Iker Casillas (Spain) in goal; Dani Alves (Brazil), Marcelo (Brazil), Gerard Piqué (Spain) and Sergio Ramos (Spain) in defence; Xabi Alonso (Spain), Andrés Iniesta (Spain) and Xavi Hernández (Spain) in midfield; and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Radamel Falcao (Colombia) and Lionel Messi (Argentina) up front.
The FIFA Puskás Award for the “most beautiful goal” of the year, created in 2009 in honour and in memory of Ferenc Puskás, the captain and star of the Hungarian national team during the 1950s, went to Slovakian striker Miroslav Stoch, who superbly hooked a shot into the top corner of the net on 3 March 2012 for his club Fenerbahçe in a Turkish Süper Lig match against Gençlerbirliği.
Franz Beckenbauer received the FIFA Presidential Award from President Joseph S Blatter in recognition of his extraordinary achievements and record of service to the world’s favourite game. Beckenbauer excelled as a supremely elegant, world-class player, as a charismatic coach and manager on the touchline, and as the figurehead and chief organiser of a major sports event, the 2006 World Cup.  
The FIFA Fair Play Award was given to the Uzbekistan Football Federation (UFF) for showing that fair play and competition are not mutually exclusive but complement each another. The UFF finished as winners of the 2012 AFC Fair Play Association of the Year award. The Uzbeks amassed 498.84 points over the year, 16.37 points more than runners-up Iran, as they emerged the victors.
The FIFA Ballon d’Or was awarded for the third time following the amalgamation of the FIFA World Player of the Year award with the France Football Ballon d’Or in 2010.
The awards were decided after a poll in which the captains and head coaches of the men’s (for the two men’s awards) and women’s (for the two women’s awards) national teams, as well as international media representatives selected by French football magazine France Football, voted for candidates in each of the four categories. Each group’s votes represented one-third of the final result.

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