Sky Bet have cut Lionel Messi to 7/4 in their football betting odds to win the Ballon D'Or for the third year running after a stream of bets were placed on the Argentine forward.
Despite an incredible year for Messi, which saw him score 60 goals for club and country, Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta was widely expected to win the award due to scoring the winning goal in the World Cup final.
But both Iniesta and Xavi were beaten by the 23-year-old, who becomes the first player to win the Ballon D'Or two years running since Marco van Basten in 1988 and 1989.
The online betting firm now make Messi 7/4 (from 3/1) to win the Ballon D'Or Player of the Year 2011. If he did, he would become only the fourth player to win it thrice, and the first to do so three years in a row.
Sky Bet's Helen Jacob said: "The 3/1 we chalked up last night for Messi to retain the FIFA Ballon d'Or crown in 2012 was snapped up immediately and within an hour we had cut the price to 7/4, showing that fans are extremely confident that Messi's awe-inspiring performances are set to continue this season."
Barcelona teammates Iniesta and Xavi are both available at 10/1, while Cristiano Ronaldo is 6/1 second favourite. Wayne Rooney heads those who play in the Premier League at 20/1, with Didier Drogba and Carlos Tevez both 25/1.