Barcelona star Lionel Messi confirmed as European Player of the Year
Argentinean Lionel Messi has beaten the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award and becomes the 2009 European Footballer of the Year. The magazine France Football reports that the 22 year-old Barcelona forward comfortably won the vote, beating second place Ronaldo by 473 to 233. Messi’s team-mates Xavi Hernandez and Andreas Iniesta came third and forth with 170 and 149 points respectively. Premier League stars Rooney, Drogba and Gerrard came eighth ninth and tenth.
France Football commented that Messi’s victory was so emphatic that he only finished seven points of the maximum possible allocated by the judges. No-one can deny that Messi deserves the accolade as he has been in truly world class form over a year and has helped his club win the treble of the League, Cup and Champions League – unprecedented in Spanish football. Victory in the Champions League final saw Barca beat Manchester United 2-0 with Messi netting the second goal. Only on the international stage does the Argentinean still operate below his potential – but this could change in the summer when he heads to the World Cup in South Africa. Messi becomes the first Argentinean to win the award, which is amazing for a country with such footballing pedigree.
Messi was understandably delighted to take home the much coveted award. France Football quotes him as saying Honestly, I knew that I was among the favourites because Barcelona had a fruitful year in 2009.” "But I didn't expect to win with such a margin. The Golden Ball is very important to me. All the players who won it were great players, and some great players never won it.”