Barcelona star Lionel Messi added yet another trophy to his individual collection Thursday as he was voted UEFA’s Best Player in Europe for the concluded season. this award is not to be confused with the Ballon d’Or, the World Player of the year award.
The 28 y/o Argentina Captain beat teammate Luis Suarez and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in a Europe-wide poll of journalists. This caps a season long competition between Messi and CR7, while Suarez made the shortlist despite a late start to the season, having served a 10-match ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini in a World cup match.
Messi becomes the first player to win the award twice, having bagged the inaugural edition in 2010-11. Ronaldo has won it once in 2013-14.
Leo had an impressive return of 58 goals and 31 assists as The Catalans coasted to La Liga, Copa del Rey and Uefa Champions League glory.
Recently-retired Germany forward Celia Sasic won Women’s version of the same award, seeing off competition from former FFC Frankfurt and Germany team-mate Dzsenifer Marozsan and Lyon midfielder Amandine Henry in the 18-journalist panel vote.
27 year old Sasic scored the opener as Frankfurt beat Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 in last season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final. She was the top scorer in the competition and also scooped the Bundesliga golden boot award last season.
She was also on target six times in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, before calling time on her stellar 111 cap German career.
Said Sasic “It’s amazing [to win this award] But I also want to say that this is a trophy for my team-mates from the national team and from FFC Frankfurt. I have the best job, I am a striker but my team-mates are the ones who give me good balls, so it’s for them too.”
The awards were conducted alongside the 2015/16 UCL Group stage draw in Monaco, France.