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Guardiola named top coach

Pep Guardiola of Barcelona has been named the FIFA Coach of the Year, with Sir Alex Ferguson given a special lifetime achievement award.

Ferguson receives special award from Blatter

Pep Guardiola of Barcelona has been named as the FIFA Coach of the Year, while Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson has been given the presidential award for services to football. Guardiola, 40, led Barcelona to five trophies in 2011, including the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and a third consecutive Spanish Primera Liga title. The former Barcelona and Spain midfielder had been nominated alongside last year's winner Jose Mourinho of Real Madrid and Ferguson. He picked up the award at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday and paid tribute to everyone who had contributed to Barcelona over the years. "I want to dedicate this award to the thousands of people who, through more than a hundred years, have worked for FC Barcelona and helped develop one of the best clubs in the world," said Guardiola. "It's a privilege and an honour for me to be a part of this excellent, amazing club."


Ferguson may have lost out to Guardiola in the Coach of the Year category, but his phenomenal record was recognised with a special lifetime achievement award. The 70-year-old Scot was presented with the prize for services to football by FIFA president Sepp Blatter at the Ballon d'Or gala. Blatter said: "Elite football is all about results and winning and there is no one better at it than him. "His first major success came at Aberdeen in 1983 but what is absolutely extraordinary is that in a world in which coaches are expected to produce instant results or be changed, his longevity is a shining example of what can be achieved through stability, continuity, investment in development and especially in trust and confidence in the personality himself. "He has earned a knighthood from Her Majesty the Queen for services to the game. This exceptional personality in football has been managing the same club for 25 years - can you imagine that today?"
Ferguson himself, who turned 70 on New Year's Eve, praised Manchester United for sharing his vision of the game. He said: "It is an honour for me in the twilight of my life and very, very much appreciated. "I have been a very, very lucky manager to have had so many good players who have shared my vision and passion, and that's what makes Manchester United such a special club. "They retain the courage to play, the courage to try and win. You don't always win in football - sometimes you lose but we always try to win."

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