Zurich :Cristiano Ronaldo was honored at the gala for scoring the best goal of 2009, a 40-meter (yard) shot against Porto in last season's Champions League.
Ronaldo was the runaway winner in 2008 after a season during which he scored 42 goals and won the European championship with Manchester United. The English side was beaten in this year's final by Barcelona, and the 24-year-old Portuguese winger moved to Real Madrid in the offseason to join Kaka, the 2007 winner of the FIFA award who transferred from AC Milan.
He hailed Messi for having played "very well" but credited his rival's success to Barcelona's fluid play among teammates who have been together for so long.
"Xavi and Iniesta also deserve the award," Ronaldo said. "If I had to choose, I would say all three of them."
Xavi and Iniesta _ aged 29 and 25, respectively _ have formed the backbone of the world's best midfield, their silky passing, penetrating runs and sublime distribution of the ball perfectly complimenting Barcelona's three-pronged attack of Messi, Thierry Henry and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
It is a combination that has also been at the heart of Spain's rise to No. 1 in the world rankings. The duo may reap an even bigger reward if Spain wins its first ever World Cup next year in South Africa.
"We have great hopes," Xavi said. "Let's see if this is the moment for Spain."