Paris, Dec 1: Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has won the 2009 Ballon d"Or (Golden Ball), becoming the first Argentinean to ever win the award.
Messi beat Real Madrid and Portugal"s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Xavi to the award which is voted on by a panel of journalists from across the world.
The 22-year old bettered his second-place finish last year and his third-place in 2007.
"Honestly, I knew that I was among the favourites because Barcelona had a fruitful year in 2009," Messi was quoted as saying by the magazine.
"But I didn't expect to win with such a margin. The Golden Ball is very important to me. All the players who won it were great players, and some great players never won it," he added.