For the first time in its history, the FIFA World Player Of The Year Award was being merged with France Football's prestigious Ballon D'or. They were to call it the FIFA Ballon D'or and that wasn't all. We had also been introduced to the Pusksas Award for the "most beautiful goal" as voted on FIFA.com. We also saw yet another inaugural award for Coach Of The Year, for both male and female. And of course there was the return of the regular line-up of awards as well as awards to honor sportsman's outstanding contributuions to football.
Lionel Messi became the first ever player to win the newly established FIFA Ballon D'or and was in shock, to say the least of the Argentine. He beat off stiff competition from Spanish duo Xavi and Andres Iniesta and retained both awards he obtained from last year. Messi had an eventful 2010, and one of his best years yet as he led Barcelona to La Liga triumph, netting 34 in 30 games and established himself as one of the greats of football. Xavi and Iniesta were hoped upon to rob the Ballon D'or off Messi but even a World Cup winning goal couldn't do it for Iniesta as Messi once again showed how he ruled the footballing empire.
FIFA Ballon D'or - Lionel Messi
The FIFA/FIFPro World XI was chosen without too many inclusions or omissions and in all, was a fair reflection of the footballing year. The chosen XI was spectacularly supported by six Spanish players, a feat which tells you they dominated the footballing world in 2009. Wesley Sneijder made the team, and gave a heartwarming praise to former Inter coach Jose Mournho and it was a rare moment of vulnerability from the Portuguese mastermind.
FIFPRO World XI: Iker Casillas in goal; Maicon, Lúcio, Gerard Piqué and Carles Puyol in defence; Wesley Sneijder, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta in midfield; and Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and David Villa up front.
In its first appearance, and lets be truthful, a long time coming, we were introduced to the Coach of The Year Award for both male and female. Up for the male award were World Cup winning coach Vincente Del Bosque, Barcelona title topper Pep Guardiola and treble holder Jose Mourinho. Each had a phenomenal year by their own standards but it was Jose Mourinho who scooped the award with a modest 35.92% of the votes. Del Bosque wasn't far behind at only 33.08% while Guardiola succumbed to bottom, with only 8.45% of the remaining votes.
For the women, it was current German coach, Silvia Ned who prevailed with 24.06% of the votes followed in hot pursuit by the German's U-20 boss Maren Meinert with 18.26% and USA manager Pia Sundhage came third with 11.68%
Coach Of The Year - Jose Mourinho (Inter Milan)
Coach Of The Year - Silvia Ned (Germany)
In another new award we saw Hamit Altintop receive the Puskas Award for "most beautiful goal" beating off the like of Lionel Messi, Samir Nasri and back heel sensation Matty Burrows. Altintops goal was of the highest technical quality as he executed a lethal volley off a corner to bring home the goods. His goal may be overshadowed by Lionel Messi's excellence but he will go down in history as the first winner of the award and hopefully many more.
Puskas Award - Hamit Altintop (Turkey vs Kazachstan)