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Barcelona and Argentina football forward Lionel Messi has been awarded the Ballon d'Or for the fourth season in a row.Messi, 25, hit 91 goals during 2012 and beat club team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid's Ronaldo to the award.
Messi was announced as the winner of the Ballon d'Or, the award given to the world's best player, during a ceremony held in Zurich on Monday.
He was part of a three-man shortlist for the prize, which is voted for by journalists, and national coaches and captains, alongside midfielder Iniesta and forward Ronaldo.
He becomes the first player to win four consecutive Ballons d'Or, breaking the record he jointly held with former France international, and current Uefa president, Michel Platini.
Messi was favourite to win the gong after surpassing Bayern Munich and Germany striker Gerd Mueller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, set in 1972.
He netted 79 goals for Barcelona, plus another 12 for Argentina, in 69 games for club and country.
Spain's Vicente del Bosque was named coach of the year while the team of the year was made up only of players from the Spanish top division.