Barcelona star Lionel Messi has won a record fifth FIFA Ballon d'Or award that goes to the world's best male football player. U.S. Soccer Team co-captain Carli Lloyd won FIFA's Women's World Player of the year for 2015.
Messi won the award four consecutive times from 2009 to 2012. On Monday, he dethroned 2013 and 2014 winner Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Spanish club Real Madrid at a ceremony in Zurich. Ronaldo finished second in the voting by national team coaches and captains, and journalists. Brazil's Neymar, who is a teammate of Messi's at Barcelona, was third.
"It's a very special moment to come back, to get a Ballon d'Or again after the two years in which Cristiano Ronaldo won each time," said the 28-year-old Messi.
"It is incredible that it's my fifth. This Ballon d'Or means more than I could have ever dreamed of as a child."
Messi captured 41 percent of the votes, Ronaldo got 28 percent and Neymar had 8 percent.
Messi led the way as Barcelona won four major titles in 2015 - the Champions League, La Liga and Spanish Cup, before also adding the Club World Cup championship last month.
Although he became the first player to win the award five times, Messi had said earlier that he would swap all those individual accolades for World Cup success.
"Team awards are more important than individual ones." Messi said, because it "is every player's objective; it's really the pinnacle."
Messi and Argentina came so close in 2014, losing the World Cup final in Brazil to Germany, 1-0.
U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd speaks to reporters before a training session for the round of eight in the FIFA 2015 women's World Cup soccer tournament at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario, June 24, 2015.
The United States won last year's Women's World Cup in Canada, and Carli Lloyd was a big reason, scoring three goals for the hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Japan in the final. She also was voted the top player at the World Cup. She previously had scored the winning goals for the U.S. in the Olympic Games finals of 2008 and 2012.
Lloyd said, "I'm very, very honored and humbled," adding that she never could have won without the help of her "incredible teammates."
Her coach Jill Ellis won FIFA's women's coach of the year honors, while men's coach of the year went to Barcelona's Luis Enrique. Enrique edged out Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola and Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli.