Out of the shortlisted 23 players, Messi alone received more than 22 per cent of the votes cast by coaches, captains of national teams and journalists. Speaking through a translator, he said, "I didn't expect to win it today," and added, "Already it's a source of happiness to be here with my friends and even more to win it."
The Argentine forward scored 58 goals to help Barcelona win the Spanish league title. Barcelona, the Spanish football club has now provided eight winners for the coveted award.
For this year, FIFA merged its world player award with the Ballon d'Or trophy - presented to the best player in Europe by France Football magazine since 1956.
Jose Mourinho won the men's coach award. For the fifth time in succession, best women's player award went to Brazil forward Marta.
In recognition of South Africa's organization of the World Cup, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was conferred with the FIFA presidential award. "It is one in the eye for the Afro pessimists", said Tutu.
All three Ballon d'Or nominees featured in a World XI selected by FIFA and the FIFPro group of players' unions worldwide.
The Puskas Award for most beautiful goal in 2010 went to Hamit Altintop for his volleyed shot for Turkey against Kazakhstan in a 2012 European Championship qualifying match.