ZURICH Lionel Messi became the first Argentine to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award on Monday.
The accolade came after the playmaker won four major titles with Barcelona -- the Champions League, the Club World Cup, La Liga and the King's Cup.
"This finishes a magnificent year for Barcelona, my team mates and for me," said Messi after receiving the trophy from UEFA president and former France international Michel Platini.
The other players on the shortlist were last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal, former winner Kaka and Messi's Barcelona team mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Messi was leading scorer in the Champions League, scoring nine goals including one in the 2-0 win over Manchester United in the final. He also notched the extra-time winner in the Club World Cup final against Estudiantes on Saturday.
The award, introduced in 1991, is voted by the coaches and captains of the national teams.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)