ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 09: (R to L) Xavi of Barcelona, Lionel Messi of Barcelona, Barcelona Coach Pep Guardiola and Manchester United Coach Sir Alex Ferguson during the Press Conference with nominees for FIFA Ballon d'Or and World Coach of the Year for Men's Football on January 9, 2012 in Zurich, Switzerland. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
The gala for the 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or occurred today in Zurich, Switzerland and during the ceremony, a few of those associated with Manchester United were honored: striker Wayne Rooney and defender Nemanja Vidic were amongst the 'FIFA World XI' while manager Sir Alex Ferguson was awarded the 'FIFA Presidential Award'. Here is how FIFA describes the award given to the legendary United boss:
"Since 2001 the Presidential Award has been given to a person or institution that has made a superlative contribution to football without seeking to monopolise the limelight. The Presidential Award may be conferred in honour of one special event or a lifetime of service, or for an exemplary attitude."
The eleven players that made up the 'FIFA World XI' came from just three clubs: FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, and United. In 2011, Rooney scored 31 goals and contributed 15 assists while United captain Vidic was arguably the best defender in the world prior to his recent season-ending injury.
Here is a list of the winners for each of the individual football awards:
* Men's Ballon d'Or: Lionel Messi (Barcelona | Argentina)
* Women's Ballon d'Or: Homare Sawa (INAC Leonessa | Japan)
* Men's Coach of the Year: Pep Guardiola (Barcelona)
* Women's Coach of the Year: Norio Sasaki (Japan)
* FIFA Puskas Award (Best goal): Neymar (Santos | Brazil)
* FIFA Fair Play Award: Japan Football Association
* FIFA World XI: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid | Spain); Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid | Spain), Gerard Pique (Barcelona | Spain), Dani Alves (Barcelona | Brazil), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United | Serbia); Xavi (Barcelona | Spain), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid | Spain), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona | Spain); Wayne Rooney (Manchester United | England), Cristiano Ronaldo (
Manchester United Real Madrid | Portugal), Lionel Messi (Barcelona | Argentina)
Rooney's overhead derby winning goal against Manchester City in February was nominated for the FIFA Puskas Award but he was beaten out by Neymar. In addition, Fergie was a finalist for Coach of the Year but he was beaten out by the man who beat him during May's Champions League final -- Barcelona's Guardiola. Here is footage of Neymar's ridiculous goal versus Flamengo: