ZURICH (AP) - Lionel Messi is the FIFA World Player of the Year after leading FC Barcelona to an unprecedented trio of Spanish and European titles.
The 22-year-old Argentine beat 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo, 2007 winner Kaka, and his Barcelona teammates Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta in voting among national team captains and coaches.
The award caps a perfect year for the winger.
Messi won a Spanish league and cup double and the European
championship last season. He added another title with an extra-time goal Saturday to beat Estudiantes and give Barcelona its first Club World Cup.
Messi accepted the award at a FIFA gala in Zurich, and said it
was the "icing on the cake."
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