The Argentine has been named as the continent’s best…
Lionel Messi is officially the best player in Europe, according to UEFA, who today named him as both the overall winner of the European Club Footballer of the Year award and as the Europea Club Forward of the Year for his exploits when his club, Barcelona, swept all before them.
The overall prize saw Messi shortlisted alongside the other three positional winners, who are revealed below, before he received the grand award.
The shortlists, as well as the final winners, were selected by sixteen of Europe’s top coaches, namely those who led their sides to the First Knockout Round of last year’s competition.
As expected, FC Barcelona dominated the nominations and ended up scooping two of the possible five accolades, while English sides such as Manchester United and Chelsea – not to mention Liverpool – were not far behind. Every single nominee came from one of these four clubs.
Here we offer a full examination of each winner, as well as a look at the players each one defeated to earn their prize (or, in the case of Messi, prizes.)
The best forward and player of the year FC Barcelona’s Argentinian Lionel Messi, reacts after receiving his trophy from UEFA President Michel Platini, during the UEFA Champions League draw, at the Grimaldi Forum, in Monaco, Thursday Aug. 27, 2009.
EUROPEAN CLUB FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR
Winner: Lionel Messi
Shortlisted: Edwin van der Sar, John Terry, Xavi
After the four awards below were given out, the respective winners gathered to hear which player out of these four cardinal positions was judged to be Europe’s best.
In the end, and to the surprise of few, Messi garnered the award.
The young Argentine was asked to select his crowning moment from a memorable year, but in particularly bashful fashion he offered this response:
“It’s really difficult to pick just one. It was an unbelievable year which gave me so much happiness and success.”
EUROPEAN CLUB FORWARD OF THE YEAR
Winner: Lionel Messi
Shortlisted: Samuel Eto’o, Cristiano Ronaldo
The Argentine was up against some stiff competition for the best forward prize, in the shape of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who reached the final of the Champions League and won the Premier League with Manchester United, and his own former team-mate Samuel Eto’o, now in Italy at Inter.
All told, Messi hit nine Champions League goals last season, making him the most prolific player in the contest. He also provided five decisive assists for teammates.
Player of the Year Spanish HQ
Forward of the Year Award