Following is the world's top sports news in 2011 selected by Xinhua News Agency:
1. The first ever FIFA Ballon d'Or award, which has merged the FIFA World Player of the Year award and the France Football's Ballon d'Or award, was awarded to Lionel Messi on Jan. 10.
The Barcelona player was elected from a list of three nominees and the other two are Andres Iniesta and Xavi, both Spanish players and teammates with Messi in Barcelona. Messi had obtained 22.65 percent of the votes, ahead of Andres Iniesta at 17.36 percent, and Xavi at 16.48 percent.
2. Ronaldo announced his decision to retire as a professional football player on Feb. 14, claiming that he suffers from hyperthyroidism, a disease that leads to constant body pain, weight gain, depression and tiredness.
Ronaldo began his professional career in 1993 with Brazil's Cruzeiro. He then played for PSV Eindhoven, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Corinthians.
He scored 264 goals for the clubs he played for and scored 62 for the Brazilian national team and remains the leading scorer during World Cup competition with a record 15 goals.
3. Barcelona defeated Manchester United 3-1 to win the UEFA Champions League for the fourth time on May 28.
4. Sepp Blatter, who has been heading FIFA since 1998, was re-elected as FIFA president for another four-year term on Jun. 1 as his sole rival Mohamed bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), withdrew from the election amid allegations of vote-buying.
In July, Bin Hammam was banned for life from all football activity by FIFA's ethics committee after being found guilty of attempting to buy votes in the presidential election, meanwhile, FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, also trapped in the vote-buying scandal, was forced to resign.
5. Chinese tennis star Li Na won the first-ever grand slam women's singles title for China and Asia, beating defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (7-0) in the French Open final on Jun. 4.
6. South Korea's Pyeongchang won the 2018 Winter Olympic Games with ease as it needed just one round of voting by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 6. It was the third consecutive time that Pyeongchang bid for the Winter Olympic Games as the city lost to Canada's Vancouver and Russia's Sochi respectively in 2003 and 2007.
7. NBA legendary center Shaquille O'Neal announced his retirement on June 1 on Twitter to end his 19-year professional career, in which he won three consecutive titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and then a fourth with the Miami Heat in 2004.
On July 20, another NBA great Yao Ming announced his retirement in a press conference in Shanghai. The Shanghai native played for eight seasons in the NBA after being the top overall pick in the 2002 draft and has been named to the NBA All-star team eight times, but he was troubled with a series of injuries.
8. In the summer of 2011, several professional sports leagues, including NFL, NBA, La Liga, Serie A, suffered lockout or postponement as owners and players disagreed on terms of a new collective bargaining agreement.
Following NFL, NBA's lockout started from July 1 upon the expiration of the 2005 collective bargaining agreement, and it was ended on Dec. 8 after owners and players reached a new deal, including a 66-game regular season, with games commencing on December 25.
La Liga and Serie A were also forced to postpone their opening round because the disagreement between owners and players on new terms, but the second round began on time after new agreements were reached.
9. Japan beat the United States 3-1 on July 17 to grab the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup for Japan and Asia.
10. On Sept. 7, 43 out of 45 people were killed in crash of a Russian plane carrying a top Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv Yaroslavl near the central Russian city of Yaroslavl.