Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has received the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award for the second time after finishing ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and teammate Luis Suárez in a live poll of 54 journalists. The Argentine received a total of 49 votes, beating Luis Suárez (3) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2) for the award.
Messi, the four-time FIFA world player of the year, is the first ever two-time winner after winning the inaugural award in 2010-11. Messi scored 58 goals and provided 31 assists as Barcelona won La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and Champions League.
On the other side, Germany striker Celia Sasic won the Best Women’s Player in Europe award, which is a fitting way to end her career after the 27-year-old announced her retirement last month.
His goals, as always, were vital. He scored against Atlético Madrid to hand the blaugranas the league title and he found the net twice in the Copa Del Rey final win over Athletic Club. Messi was exceptional in the Champions League final against Juventus, although he was unable to score the goal, his performance deserved. Previously, in the semi-finals against Bayern Munich, his two goals were decisive in deciding the tie and Messi also took home the award for best goal for his stunning effort when he embarrassed Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng during that match.
About the Award:
- The UEFA Best Player in Europe Award is an association football award given to the footballer playing for a football club in Europe that is considered the best player, irrespective of his nationality in the previous season. The award, created in 2011 by UEFA, is aimed at reviving the European Footballer of the Year Award (Ballon d’Or), which was merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or. It also replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award.
- Since its inception, the award has been won by Lionel Messi for a record two times (2011, 2015), Andrés Iniesta (2012), Franck Ribéry (2013), and Cristiano Ronaldo (2014). Female players are awarded the UEFA Best Women’s Player in Europe Award, introduced in 2013.
- Players are judged by their performances in all competitions, domestic and international, and at club and national team levels throughout the season and are chosen purely by journalists.