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Argentina's Messi named world's best soccer player for fourth year running

posted 8 Jan 2013, 08:46 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 8 Jan 2013, 08:47 ]

Pedestrians on the streets of Buenos Aires are thrilled about soccer superstar Lionel Messi's newest accomplishment.

BUENOS AIRESARGENTINA (JANUARY 7, 2013) (REUTERS) - Argentina's Lionel Messi, still only 25, was named the world's best player for an unprecedented fourth year running on Monday (January 7).

The award, officially known as the FIFA Ballon d'Or, came after the Barcelona player scored a remarkable 91 goals in 2012, a record for a calendar year.

People on the streets of Buenos Aires were excited about Messi's latest accomplishment.

"At 25 he has achieved things that no other football player has achieved at that age. He won - the only thing he is missing is a World Cup win," said Ivan Narducci.

Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo was second, marking the third time the 2008 winner has finished runner-up.

Leonardo Bochiche said the "Pulga" - or the "Flea" as he is affectionately known in Argentina - was the best contender for the award.

"He deserves it, there is a big difference between him and Cristiano [Ronaldo] and the others. So, he deserves it," said Bochiche.

Although Messi did not have an outstanding year in terms of Barcelona titles, missing out on theChampions League and La Liga, he enjoyed a resurgence of form with Argentina, scoring 12 goals including his first two international hat-tricks.

Colombian tourist Benjamin Bernal said that Colombians admire the Argentine soccer icon.

"He's an excellent representative for Argentina and for South America. We admire him and he's a great man," said Bernal.

Jose Riveros also felt the award was well-deserved.

"He deserves it. Nothing more, nothing less. He deserves it. If it wasn't him, who would it be?" said Riveros.

Jonathan Castellano, a young Colombian tourist, had no qualms about Messi's designation as the world's best soccer player.

"He is great, and Cristiano [Ronaldo] doesn't exist," said Castellano with a smile.

Messi was voted FIFA Player of the Year in 2009 before picking up the new-look award in 2010 and 2011 after it was fused with the Ballon d'Or award previously handed out by a France Football magazine.