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By ESPN Staff

Messi on top of the world

Lionel Messi was rewarded for a stunning year in which he helped Barcelona to an unprecedented six trophies by being named FIFA's World Player of the Year.

• Raynor: Messi more than trophies
• Messi's amazing year in pictures

• Bidwell: Ronaldo to reclaim crown

The Argentina forward, who headed the clinching goal against Manchester United in the Champions League final, also scored on Saturday to secure the Club World Cup for Barcelona against Estudiantes on Saturday.

The 22-year-old won the award for the first time, beating last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo, his two clubmates Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Brazil midfielder Kaka. He was presented with the trophy at a glittering awards gala in Zurich.

Messi said: "I'm extremely happy. We've just ended a historic year, a perfect year in which we've won every competition we've played in. We just needed to take this last step and everything has worked out how we wanted. It's amazing."

Messi's award, which is voted for by the coaches and captains of each national side, appeared to be entirely based on his club form as his performances for Argentina, under coach Diego Maradona, were largely disappointing.

Argentina struggled to qualify for the World Cup and their results this year included a 6-1 hammering in Bolivia and defeats by Paraguay and Ecuador.

Before the ceremony, Messi told reporters he could not explain why he failed to perform at the same level for his country.

"I don't know," he said. "I try to do the same as I do for Barcelona. But the World Cup qualifiers are complicated, sometimes it's difficult to play and it was a big effort for us to qualify.

"I believe the World Cup could be completely different for us ... it could be better for me and Argentina."

Meanwhile, Messi's team-mates Daniel Alves, Xavi and Iniesta were among those named in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI.

The XI, voted for by members of the international professional footballers' union FIFPro, were: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), John Terry (Chelsea), Nemanja Vidic (Man Utd), Patrice Evra (Man Utd), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres (Liverpool).

Ronaldo won the FIFA Puskas award for the best goal of the 2008/09 season - his long-range thunderbolt for Manchester United against Porto in the Champions League in April.

The FIFA Fair Play Award was given posthumously to Sir Bobby Robson for his "outstanding commitment to the values of fair play throughout his career''. The award was collected by his widow Elsie.

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