Messi wins Europe best player award
Updated: 2011-08-26 09:42
Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who was named the Best Player in Europe for the 2010-11 season, poses with his award during the Champions League draw in Monaco, Aug 25, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
MONACO - Lionel Messi won the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe award on Thursday, finishing ahead of Barcelona teammate Xavi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
The vote, conducted by sports journalists representing each of UEFA's member associations, was organised with the idea of reviving the spirit of the former European Footballer of the Year award which is now known as the Ballon D'Or and organised by soccer's ruling body FIFA.
Messi, the overwhelming winner, collected his prize during the Champions League group-stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
The Argentine international hit 53 goals last season, including 12 in the Champions League where he finished top scorer for the third successive season.
UEFA President Michel Platini (R) poses with Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who was named the Best Player in Europe for the 2010-11 season, during the Champions League draw in Monaco, Aug 25, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
Messi's last European goal of the season was the second in Barcelona's 3-1 final win over Manchester United in May and he also helped his club to a third straight La Liga title.
The 24-year-old, already the World Footballer of the Year, said: "I keep all these awards at home and I still have some space for more ... thanks to my teammates for helping me achieve this."
Barcelona will meet Europa League winners Porto in the European Super Cup on Friday.
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