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," Independent reports.
Messi picked up 1,073 points from managers and captains of the world's national teams, comfortably edging out Ronaldo, who had 353 points and Xavi, who had 196 points, Barcelona News reports.
More than 3,500 people were detained during unprecedented mass protests that swept across all of Russia in support of Alexey Navalny on January 23