Barcelona’s Argentinian ace Lionel Messi has been named as FIFA's World Player of the Year for 2009.
The 22-year-old helped Barca to an unprecedented six trophies in the last 12 months, with Pep Guardiola’s side having won the FIFA Club World Cup, La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, the European Super Cup and the Spanish Super Cup.
Messi beat off competition from team-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi as well as Real Madrid’s Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo to secure a prestigious individual honour.
He said on receiving his award: “I'm extremely happy. We've just ended a historic year, a perfect year in which we've won every competition we've played in.
“We just needed to take this last step and everything has worked out how we wanted. It's amazing.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted to missing Manchester but insists he made the right decision to join Real Madrid last summer.
The Portugal star swapped Old Trafford for the Santiago Bernabeu in a world record £80million transfer in July and - aside from a two month ankle injury lay-off - has looked in top form.
By contrast, United have struggled to fill the void created by the departure of the former world and European player of the year.
"I think Manchester United are doing very well this season - they have lost the last two games but they are still second in the league," said Ronaldo.
"What people think about me is their opinion but I really miss Manchester a little bit as I played there for six years and I left a few friends there.
"So I miss the club a little bit, but I'm focused now at Real Madrid and I'm really, really happy there."
Coach Hugo Sanchez has been sacked by Primera Liga strugglers Almeria.
The Mexican successfully kept the southern minnows in La Liga last season, but Sunday's 2-0 defeat at Espanyol - a fourth defeat in their last five games - was the final straw.
He has been replaced in the Estadio del Mediterraneo hot-seat by reserve team coach Constantin Galca.
"We are forced to take this step to provoke a reaction from the team," read a brief club statement.
Sanchez had replaced the Valencia-bound Unai Emery in the post following in December 2008 following the brief and unsuccessful reign of Gonzalo Arconada.Reuse content