Argentina’s Lionel Messi, still only 25, won the World Player of the Year award for an unprecedented fourth year running on Monday.
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.
Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo was second, the third time the 2008 winner has finished runner-up, and Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta was third as Spain again missed out.
Despite dominating international football for the last four years, no Spanish player has won the award.
“It’s incredible to win a fourth in a row, amazing,” said Messi. “I want to share this with my Barcelona team mates and my Argentina team mates.”