United trio receive Ballon d'Or recognition


Sir Alex Ferguson has been awarded the FIFA Presidential Award following a year in which he celebrated his 25th anniversary as manager of Manchester United at the Ballon d'Or gala.

The 70-year-old completed a quarter of a century at Old Trafford in November, during a year that also saw him win his 12th league championship at the helm.

Speaking at the ceremony in Zurich, Ferguson was humbled to receive the recognition.

"This is very much appreciated," Ferguson said.

"No matter the honour I get, I feel it's recognition for the 25 years of Manchester United. They always shared my vision and passion. I’ve been a very lucky manager.

"That makes Manchester United such a special club. The courage to play and the courage to try and win is more important than anything."

The success didn't stop their for United, with both Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic named in the FIFA World XI for 2011, with the additional nine players made up from La Liga rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Rooney was pipped for the Puskas Goal of the Year award by Brazilian superstar Neymar, with Lionel Messi also missing out.

But in the main award, Messi wasn't to be denied, scooping 47.88% of the vote to win his third Ballon d'Or, which sees him join the likes of Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Michel Platini.

For the Manager of Year award, Ferguson was pipped by Pep Guardiola, while fellow contender Jose Mourinho also lost out.

“The Barcelona team at the moment is by far the best team," Ferguson added.

"We have experienced three years of it and sometimes in football you have to hold your hand up and say ‘they are better than us’.

“It’s not a crime or a weakness, just a plain fact that the Barcelona team now, particularly with Lionel Messi in the side, are just an extraordinary team.

“I can’t see anyone taking a trophy for them this year, Real Madrid are probably the nearest to them.”

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