Barcelona star Lionel Messi told of his surprise at winning his second consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Or at the glittering award ceremony on Zurich on Monday evening.
The Argentinian ace thought missing out on top honours with club and country in 2010 might influence the voters’ decision after Barcelona were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals and Argentina fell at the quarter-final stage of the World Cup.
After receiving his award, Messi said: "I'm happy, but I didn't expect it because everyone had been talking so much about Xavi and Andres (Iniesta).
"They also deserved it for the wonderful year they had. They won the World Cup, which usually goes a long way to deciding who wins this award, and they both had big parts to play in that.
"That's why I thought one of them would be going up to collect the trophy. It was a wonderful surprise."
The FIFA Ballon d’Or was created when the World Player of the Year merged with French football magazine’s European Footballer of the Year and the award is based on the votes of journalists, coaches and captains of national teams.
Despite the disappointments in the Champions League and World Cup, Messi’s wonderful skill shone throughout the year and he scored an incredible 60 goals for Barca and Argentina in 2010.
Messi looks set for another great year in 2011; Barcelona lead the way in the Primera Division by two points from Real Madrid and are set to face Arsenal over two legs in the last sixteen of the Champions League.
He starts the year with 18 goals in 15 league appearances and with 6 Champions League goals already, online bookmaker Totesport is offering odds of 21/20 for Messi to finish Champions League top scorer.