The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 8, 2013

Messi on top

(Continued)

ZURICH —

“I’m very, very surprised,” Wambach said. “Not only do I think Marta and Alex could have won, but many other players could have been here as well.”

Wambach, who received the award from American goalkeeper Hope Solo, scored five goals in London as the U.S. won its third straight Olympic title. She has 152 international goals, six shy of Hamm’s record.

“She’s so completely deserving of this award,” Morgan said. “She’s made such a huge mark on women’s soccer over the past decade. She’s an inspiration to not only the thousands of young girls around the country and world, but also to me.”

The U.S. players were serenaded from the stage by Sundhage, who sang a verse of the Bob Dylan song “If Not For You” when she received her award.

Sundhage, who left the U.S. job after the Olympics to coach her native Sweden, got 28.59 percent of the vote to defeat Nono Sasaki of Japan (23.83) and Bruno Bini of France (9.02).

Vicente del Bosque was voted top men’s coach after leading Spain to its third straight title in a major tournament, the 2012 European Championship. Del Bosque got 34.51 percent to win over Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho (20.49), who won last year, and Pep Guardiola (12.91) who won in 2011 and retired from Barcelona last spring.

The three men’s Player of the Year were on the World XI All-Star team chosen by the FIFPro group of players’ unions, comprising 50,000 members worldwide.

They selected a team composed entirely of players from Spanish clubs, with nine repeating their selection from one year ago.

Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas was selected as goalkeeper, joined on defense by teammates Sergio Ramos and Marcelo and by Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Gerard Pique. Iniesta was joined in midfield by Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso. Messi led the attack with Ronaldo and Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao. Marcelo and Falcao replaced Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney from the 2011 team.

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