Lionel Messi scoops inaugural Best Player in Europe award
Argentine beats off competition from Xavi HernÃ¡ndez and Cristiano Ronaldo to land the new European gong
Lionel Messi won the inaugural Uefa Best Player in Europe award on Thursday ahead of Barcelona team-mate Xavi HernÃ¡ndez and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine scored 53 goals last term, including 12 the Champions League as he finished as the top scorer in the competition for the third successive season.
“I’d like to thank all the people that voted for me, and all my team-mates.” said Messi, who got 39 of the 53 votes. “I keep all these awards at home and I still have some space for more.
“It’s an honour to be so successful and to come up with the goods at the right time; thanks to my team-mates for helping me achieve this.”
Messi, who scored Barcelona’s second goal in their 3-1 defeat of Manchester United in the Champions League final in May, added: “My motivation comes from being at a club that’s so successful and having a structure that allows us to be so successful ““ that was taught to me when I moved over and I’ve tried my best to keep it up.”
The new award replaces the Club Footballer of the Year award and was voted for by 53 sports journalists representing each of the Uefa member associations.
The top 10 in full:
1 Lionel Messi (ARG) ““ Barcelona (39 votes)
2 Xavi HernÃ¡ndez (ESP) ““ Barcelona (11 votes)
3 Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) ““ Real Madrid (3 votes)
4 AndrÃ©s Iniesta (ESP) ““ Barcelona
5 Falcao (COL) ““ Porto
6 Wayne Rooney (ENG) ““ Manchester United
7 Nemanja VidiÄ‡ (SRB) ““ Manchester United
8 Zlatan IbrahimoviÄ‡ (SWE) ““ AC Milan
= Gerard PiquÃ© (ESP) ““ Barcelona
10 Manuel Neuer (GER) ““ Schalke