ICYMI... Lionel Messi heroics were Twitter hit in 2015

08 January 2016 10:59

Barcelona star Lionel Messi would be a runaway winner of the Ballon d'Or prize for the greatest player on the planet if it was decided by Twitter mentions.

The Argentinian, who helped his team to a Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble during 2015, is the hot favourite to win the FIFA award which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Zurich on Monday.

His achievements led to him receiving 58million mentions on Twitter between January 1 and December 31, 2015 - 27million more than Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo who is also in contention for the prize.

The third Ballon d'Or nominee, Messi's Barcelona team-mate Neymar, received 24million mentions over the same period according to data released to Press Association Sport by the social media site.

Messi would also win the FIFA Puskas Award for the best goal of 2015 if it was based on peaks in Twitter conversations around the goal being scored, with his solo effort against Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final in May generating more buzz than the goals scored by the other finalists, Alessandro Florenzi of Roma and Brazilian Wendell Lira.

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola got the most Twitter mentions of the Men's World Coach of the Year nominees, with five million. Barcelona boss Luis Enrique received four million, while Chile's Copa America-winning coach Jorge Sampaoli got one million.

Carli Lloyd, part of the United States' World Cup-winning team, would win the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year prize based on Twitter mentions, with 666,000 compared to the 110,000 mentions for her next nearest rival, Aya Miyama of Japan.

England Women coach Mark Sampson received 25,000 mentions, 115,000 fewer than his Japanese counterpart Norio Sasaki.

Source: PA-WIRE