Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi won the UEFA Best Player award for his efforts in helping the Catalans conquer their second treble.
The Argentine No. 10 defeated fellow team-mate Luis Suarez and arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo at the Grimaldi Forum organized by UEFA in Monaco, where the draw for Champions League 2015-16 group matches also took place.
The votes were cast by a group of 54 journalists, via an electronic system for their favourite player out of the three-man short list announced on 12th August. The voting turned out to be a one-sided contest as Lionel Messi won a total of 49 votes as compared to Suarez’s 3 and Ronaldo’s 2 votes.
Speaking to UEFA.com, Messi said, “We’re a unified squad who worked very hard to achieve the goals we did. I’m very happy and I would like to thank my team-mates – without them I wouldn’t have achieved this.”
The Rosario-born forward had 58 goals & 28 assists last year for his club, while Ronaldo had 61 goals & 22 assists. However, Messi’s goals made a far bigger contribution as Barcelona came off a trophy less season to securing the treble – thus becoming the only team in the history of the game to achieve this feat.
With this achievement, Lionel Messi also became the only player in world football to have won the Best Player in Europe award twice with his first one coming at the trophy’s inaugural year back in 2011.