Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, Alves, Piqué, Guardiola and Rosell / PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Messi was named world player of the year for the third time in a row after getting almost half of the votes (47.88) to beat both Cristiano Ronaldo (21.6) and fellow FCB man Xavi Hernández (9.23). The highlight of the FIFA Balon d'Or Gala came when the Argentinian received the trophy from Ronaldo. In his speech, Messi also had words for Xavi, a further show of the unity in the Barcelona squad.

Shortly before, Josep Guardiola had been named the best coach of 2011, and in his speech remembered his assistant Tito Vilanova. And there were also five players (Messi and Xavi, plus Iniesta, Piqué and Alves) in the all-star XI for 2011. The whole day was yet more recognition for the FC Barcelona model, and a team that is making history in so many different ways.

Moments to remember

After so many happy moments, the return journey to Barcelona, with 24 passengers, was a veritable fiesta. With Gerard Piqué as master of ceremonies, this was a moment to share the success with their families. It was all about having fun, with most of the attention focused on Leo Messi.

There was also time for photographs and a toast for the wonderful achievements, with beaming smiles on every face. The picture of the six winning players plus president Sandro Rosell and manager Josep Guardiola, symbolises all Barça's success. The plane finally reached El Prat Airport ten minutes before midnight, bringing an end to a memorable day for all the people aboard.

Back to top