Lionel Messi has claimed his crown as the world's best footballer in a third consecutive year, after being awarded FIFA's Balloon d'Or award in Zurich.
The Argentine Barcelona forward is the fourth player in history to receive the honor a third time in a row.
It's the third time I've won it. It's just an amazing honor. I want to thank everyone that's been involved with me -- my team-mates, trainers, physios, the coach (Pep Guardiola) and everyone at Barcelona, Messi said at FIFA's ceremony in Zurich.
The 24-year-old was the first Argentine player to win the award in 2009, and this year he beat his Barcelona teammate Xavi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to the award. Mesi received 47 per cent of the vote, while Ronaldo was second with 21 per cent and Xavi came third with nine per cent.
I want to share this also with my teammate Xavi. It is the fourth time we are here together and it is an honor to play together on the pitch, Messi said. Xavi also spoke at the ceremony congratulating Messi and saying he is going to become e one of the best footballers in the history of the sport.
Barcelona has had a successful year, winning the Spanish league, the European Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup, CNN reported.
Messi's club manager, Pep Guardiola, also received an award for best club manager.
I want to dedicate this award to the thousands of people who, through more than a hundred years, have worked for FC Barcelona and helped develop one of the best clubs in the world, he said after receiving his award. It's a privilege and an honor for me to be a part of this excellent, amazing club.
Meanwhile Japan's Homare Sawa won the award for female player of the year. She is the first Asian winner of the award, denying Brazilian Marta of a sixth successive title.
Lionel Messi of Argentina, FIFA World Player of the Year holds his FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 trophy next to singer Shakira during the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 soccer awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 9, 2012.
Lionel Messi of Argentina, FIFA World Player of the Year holds his FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 trophy during the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 soccer awards ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich January 9, 2012.
Lionel Messi of Spain's Barcelona drives past goalkeeper Rafael Cabral of Brazil's Santos to score their fourth goal during their Club World Cup final soccer match in Yokohama, south of Tokyo December 18, 2011.
Lionel Messi (R) of Spain's Barcelona is tackled by Edu Dracena of Brazil's Santos during their Club World Cup final soccer match in Yokohama, south of Tokyo December 18, 2011.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against against Osasuna with Dani Alves during their Spanish Kings Cup soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona January 4, 2012.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi (R) fights for the ball against Espanyol's Didac Vila during their Spanish First division soccer match at Cornella-El Prat stadium, near Barcelona January 8, 2012.
Espanyol's goalkeeper Cristian Alvarez (R) blocks the ball against Barcelona's Lionel Messi during their Spanish First division soccer match at Cornella-El Prat stadium, near Barcelona January 8, 2012.