After a 91-goal year for Barcelona and Argentina in 2012, Lionel Messi has won the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for an unprecedented fourth straight year.

Just 25, Messi has been voted the world's best player beating his greatest rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Spanish champion Real Madrid and Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta, who starred as Spain won the 2012 European Championship.

Messi's fourth award lifted him above three-time FIFA winners Zinedine Zidane of France and Brazil's Ronaldo. The old Ballon d'Or trophy for players in Europe was won three times by France great Michel Platini, and Netherlands forwards Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten.

"To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable. The fourth award that I have had is just too great for words," Messi said.

"I would like to recognize my other colleagues from Barcelona: Iniesta it has been great to train and play alongside you. I would also like to recognize all of my friends in the Argentinean national team.

"Everyone that has worked with me coaches and staff and my family and my friends. "Also my wife and my son. Thank you."

Voting was by national team coaches and captains around the world plus invited media.

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