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Wenger: Why I wouldn’t have voted for Messi to win 2012 Ballon d’Or

Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger says he would not have voted for Lionel Messi for the 2012 Ballon d'Or award

The Sport Review staff
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Lionel Messi scored a record 91 goals for club and country in 2012Photo: FIFA/Getty Images

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Arsène Wenger has revealed that he would not have voted for Lionel Messi for the 2012 Ballon d’Or award, saying that Cristiano Ronaldo and Andrés Iniesta would have been more deserving of the prize.

Messi swept away competition from fellow nominees Ronaldo and Iniesta to land a record fourth consecutive crown at the ceremony in Zurich last month.

And although Wenger readily admits that the Argentine is the best player he has ever seen, he feels Ronaldo or Iniesta should have been rewarded for helping their teams win major silverware last year.

Ronaldo fired Real Madrid to the Spanish league title, while Iniesta was named player of the tournament as Spain retained their European championship crown.

Despite breaking Gerd Mueller’s record for the most goals scored in a calendar year with a staggering 91 strikes, Messi’s only taste of silverware last season was Barcelona’s Copa del Rey triumph.

And asked if Messi would have got his vote for the 2012 prize, Wenger told Arsenal.com: “No, not this year.

“For me Messi is certainly the best player I have ever seen in the game, but I believe that this year he has really been rewarded for what he did individually, rather than what he won for his team.

“For once he has not been in a team that won absolutely everything. He did not win the Champions League, he did not win the Spanish league and he didn’t win anything with his country, but individually it’s true he had an exceptional year, scoring 91 goals.

“I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I’m more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like Casillas, Ronaldo – who won the championship – and especially Iniesta deserved it more. He’s always number two or three, but he won the European Championship with Spain – he could have deserved it this year.”

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