Lionel Messi was honoured at the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai last night with the Best Player of the Year award after his sensational treble-winning year with Barcelona. The 28-year-old Argentina captain narrowly missed out on a Copa América title with Argentina but will be hoping that this accolade proves to be a precursor to a fifth Ballon d’Or when FIFA hold their ceremony on January 11th.
There has been little time to rest for the best footballer on the planet after helping Barcelona to the Club World Cup just over a week ago. Amid the controversy of the abuse he received from River Plate supporters in the aftermath of the final, Messi travelled to his home city of Rosario to celebrate Christmas and then swiftly to Dubai for the annual Globe Soccer Awards.
The journey was made worthwhile as the Barcelona forward picked up the gong for Best Player on an evening that was dominated by the Blaugrana.
Barcelona were named Best Club of 2015, in addition to Best Media Attraction in Football and Josep Maria Bartomeu voted Best President. Given the allegations of tax fraud surrounding Neymar’s transfer from Santos it hasn’t all been plane sailing for Bartomeu but after a historic trophy haul in 2015, the 52-year-old said: “It is difficult to win everything we have won. We enjoy our football, and our philosophy, and our aim is to make people happy. This year we will be trying to win once again. With Messi and the others that is easy. They are playing better and better and we hope things go on like that.”
Certainly Barcelona’s attacking trident of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have been vital to their success and there is no sign of that slowing down. Messi’s 47 goals for Barcelona in 2015 only fractionally puts him ahead of his cohorts and La Pulga remains the figurehead of this Barca side. This team ethic is not lost on Messi and after picking up this latest individual accolade, the Argentine said: “It’s very nice to receive these awards, but I always say that the team makes it possible. It’s been an extraordinary year.”
New York City FC duo, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo also received recognition with Career Awards and Belgium boss Marc Wilmots was named Best Coach of the Year after leading the Red Devils to the top of the FIFA ranking.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s agent, Jorge Mendes was handed the award for Best Agent, for a fifth consecutive year, Benfica were named Best Academy, Ravshan Irmatov collected Best Referee and Yasir Al-Shahrani the Best GCC Player of the Year.