Barcelona's Lionel Messi 'honored' to win third successive FIFA Ballon d'Or award

The diminutive attacker was over the moon to receive the honor for the third consecutive year and dedicated it to Xavi, who finished third
Barcelona star Lionel Messi was ecstatic to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the best player of 2011.

The Argentina international, who has become the second player in history to win the prestigious award three times in a row, was chosen ahead of Barca teammate Xavi and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.

"It is a huge pleasure and honour to win my third award [of this kind]," Messi said. "I wanted to share it with those who voted for me, my coach and my teammates at Barca and in the Argentina national team."

Messi also made a special mention to Xavi, who has yet to win the Ballon d'Or accolade despite being nominated in the last three years.

"Moreover, I want to share this award specially with my friend Xavi. This is the fourth time that we are are together at this ceremony and it is a pleasure for me to be with him on the pitch," Messi said.

"I hope we can win more things together."

Messi amassed 47.88 percent of the votes, ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (21.6 percent) and Xavi (9.23 percent).