Lionel Messi won a record-breaking fourth consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or at an awards ceremony in Zurich tonight.
The 25-year-old Argentinian took the honour ahead of Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi enjoyed a remarkable 2012 even by his own high standards, most notably surpassing Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year, finishing with an incredible 91.
Messi said: "To tell you the truth this is really quite unbelievable. The fourth award that I have had is just too great for words.
“I would like to recognise my other colleagues from Barcelona; Andres it has been great to train and play alongside you.
“I would also like to recognise all of my friends in the Argentinian 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.”
Messi polled 41.60% of the votes, with Ronaldo taking 23.68% and Iniesta 10.91%.
Although he missed out on both the Primera Division and Champions League crowns, he racked up a host of personal achievements last year.
He scored an unprecedented 50 goals in a La Liga season, a record 14 goals in a Champions League season and became the first player to net five times in a Champions League match.
He also shattered the myth that he does not perform as well for Argentina as he does for his club by scoring 12 goals for his country in nine games.
Messi’s fourth award takes him past the three won by both former Brazil striker Ronaldo and former France midfielder Zinedine Zidane.
See who Robbie Keane, Giovanni Trapattoni, Paul Kelly and Jimmy Magee voted for, you may be surprised.