FAIR PLAYFIFA Honors Best Scorers with Player of the Year Award

If you’re a fan of world soccer, you know that Argentine footballer and FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi has held center stage for quite some time now. In fact, in 2012, Messi was the winner of the FIFA’s coveted Ballon d’Or (Player of the Year) award for the fourth consecutive year.

The winner of the Player of the Year Award is elected by the coaches and captains of the national teams of the 209 FIFA Member Associations and a selected group of media.

Runner-up was Cristiano Ronaldo, who with Portugal, scored twice against the Netherlands and another against the Czech Republic to propel his side to the semi-finals of EURO 2012, while with Real Madrid, he won La Liga – scoring 46 goals along the way – and played a key role in their run to the Champions League semi-finals. In third place was Andrés Iniesta, midfielder for FC Barcelona and Spain’s national team. Iniesta took center stage for Spain once again in June, winning his second European Championship title and being named as the best player, not only of the final, but also of the entire tournament.

But it’s Messi who keeps on winning. His achievements in 2012 included becoming FC Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer in official matches when he made his 233rd goal on March 20 of last year, breaking the record for the number of UEFA Champions League goals in a single season (14) and, with his 82 goals in all competitions, he edges ever closer to breaking the record held by the legendary Gerd Muller (85 goals).

U.S. player Abby Wambach won the Player of the Year award for the women. Wambach helped lead the U.S team to its fourth Olympic gold medal in London after defeating the Japanese team in the final and thus exacting revenge for the FIFA Women’s World Cup final the previous year, which Japan won for the first time in their history.