Argentina's Lionel Messi, still only 25, won the World Player of the Year award for an unprecedented fourth year running on Monday.
The award came after a year in which the Barcelona player scored a record-breaking 91 goals for club and country.
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Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo was second in the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or award and Messi's Barcelona team mate Andres Iniesta was third.
Messi was voted FIFA Player of the Year in 2009 before picking up the new-look award in 2010 and 2011 after it was fused with the Ballon d'Or award previously handed out by France Football magazine.
Brazilian Ronaldo and Frenchman Zinedine Zidane both won the old FIFA award three times, although neither did so in successive years, while Michel Platini won the France Football award three times successively in the 1980s. (Reporting by Brian Homewood; Editing by John Mehaffey)