Lionel Messi beats Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar to win 2015 Ballon d'Or, Carli Lloyd is Women's Player of the Year
The Ballon d’Or ceremony was held at the Kongresshaus in Zurich on Monday night. Here are the winners of the various awards.
FIFA FIFPro World XI for 2015
The FIFA World XI for the year 2015 was announced first. A 55-man shortlist was announced in November last year and the final XI was announced today. Apart from the usual suspects from Real Madrid and Barcelona, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba made it to the team for the first time and became the youngest player since Messi in 2009 to be named in the 2015 Team of the Year
New entrants from La Liga’s big two included Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric and Barcelona forward Neymar.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer
Defenders: Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva, Marcelo
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Luka Modric, Andres Iniesta
Forwards: Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi
Women’s Coach of the Year
For the Women’s Coach of the Year, the three nominees were Jill Ellis (USA), Mark Sampson (England) and Norio Sasaki (Japan). And the winner was Jill Ellis for guiding the USA to the Women’s World Cup – their first title since 1999.
“It’s a true honour,” Ellis said. “This represents a whole lot of people, our players, captains, the staff. My sincere gratitude for your efforts and belief.
“My dad was my first coach and it is a thrill to have him here.
She finished her acceptance speech by thanking FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation for their belief and advancement of women’s football.
“To FIFA, to our own federation, thank you for your belief, your vision and your investment in women's football.”
Men’s Coach of the Year
For the Men’s Coach of the Year, the three nominees were Luis Enrique (Barcelona), Pep Guardiola (Bayern Munich) and Jorge Sampaoli (Chile). And the winner was Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
The 45-year-old boss had led the Catalan club to five trophies last year, including the treble of the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey apart from the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Enrique was not on hand to receive the award due to other commitments and a club official came forward to pick up the award on his behalf.
FIFA Fair Play Award
Every year, FIFA acknowledges people or institutions for fair play – one of the world governing body’s major issues. With various projects and campaigns, the ethos of fair play has always been a significant aspect of the game.
And so, this year’s FIFA Fair Play Award was awarded to various clubs and associations for playing their part in welcoming and helping refugees around the world. Last year saw a number of people displaced due to war, especially in the Middle East and many countries had opeed their borders to them. And football clubs and their fans played a huge part in making them feel safe and welcomed in their respective cities.
Former Germany international Gerald Asamoah came forward to collect the award on the behalf of all those who helped the refugees.
FIFA Puskas Award
The nominees for the Goal of the Year were AS Roma’s Alessandro Florenzi (for the goal from near the half-line against Barcelona), Atletico Goianiense’s Wendell Lira (for the acrobatic effort inside the box against Goianesia) and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (for his solo effort against Athletic Bilbao).
After counting 1.6 million votes, the award went to Wendell Lira for his bicycle-kick in pouring rain. You can watch the video of the goal on the FIFA website.
Women’s Player of the Year
The nominees for the Women’s Player of the Year were USA’s World Cup winning captain Carli Lloyd, World Cup runner-up Japan’s Aya Miyama and Germany’s World Cup Golden Boot winner Celia Sasic. But Carli Lloyd was the favourite all along and there were no surprises when her name was announced.
Carli was in tears after receiving the award and had to apologise to the crowd who only cheered her on. When she was finally able to speak, he said: “It is a an honour. It has been a dream, ever since I started with the national team. I would not be here without my teammates.
She also congratulated the other nominees and also thanked her partner Brian Hollins for his support.
FIFA Ballon d’Or
The nominees for the 2015 Ballon d’Or need no introduction – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar. The winner was voted by the national team captains, coaches and media representatives from all FIFA member nations.
The favourite to pick up the award was Lionel Messi and he took it home for the fifth time in his career (he had also won it in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012) to extend his record to five wins. Nobody else has more than three to their name. The Argentine forward had scored 48 goals in 2015 and, although Ronaldo had scored 54 goals, the numerous trophies, especially the treble, surely went in his favour.
“It is incredible it is my fifth, more than I dreamed of as a kid,” Messi said. “I would like to thank all who voted for me, my teammates and football in general for everything it has brought me, bad and good, it has made me grow and learn always.”