LONDON: European champions Barcelona have swept the board in World Soccer magazine’s prestigious annual awards with Lionel Messi named World Player of the Year, Pep Guardiola Manager of the Year and the side that won the Spanish and Champions League last season named as Team of the Year.
Messi collected more than 60pc of the votes cast in the annual poll of the British magazine’s readers from more than 40 countries — a record haul since the awards began in 1982.
It is the second time the 24-year-old Argentine has topped the poll after winning in 2009. Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Portugal was a distant second with 9.3pc of votes while last year’s winner, Messi’s Barca team mate Xavi, was third with 7.6pc.
Guardiola topped the manager’s poll ahead of Oscar Tabarez who coached Uruguay to victory in the Copa America, with Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson third after taking his team to the Premier League title and the Champions League final.
Barcelona, who could win the Club World Cup in Japan this weekend, were the clear winners of the Team of the Year award ahead of Uruguay and third-placed Porto who won the Portuguese League and Cup double and the Europea League last season.
Brazilian teenager Neymar, whose Santos side play Barcelona in the Club World Cup final, was named as the Young Player of the Year.
World Soccer was launched in October 1960.