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WRAPUP 1-Soccer-Messi sweeps to fourth successive award

By Brian Homewood ZURICH, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Lionel Messi, still only 25, was named the world's best player for the fourth time in a row on Monday after a year in which finally produced his best form for Argentina as well as Barcelona. Messi was handed the FIFA Ballon D'Or award after a typically cheesy ceremony which featured a performance from a giant dancing armadillo named Fuleco, the mascot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

UPDATE 1-Soccer-Messi wins Player of the Year for fourth time

By Brian Homewood ZURICH, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Argentina's Lionel Messi, still only 25, was named the world's best player for an unprecedented fourth year running on Monday. The award, officially known as the FIFA Ballon d'Or, came after the Barcelona player scored a remarkable 91 goals in 2012, a record for a calendar year.

Soccer-Ronaldo shocked by Boateng racism episode

ZURICH, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo said it was incredible that episodes of racism still happen in soccer stadiums after AC Milan abandoned a friendly in Italy last week because of offensive chants by spectators. However, the Portuguese forward was non-committal over Milan midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng's decision to walk off the pitch over racist insults during the match against lower tier Pro Patria, saying it was a "personal decision."
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