Messi wins inaugural best player in Europe award

MONACO,  (Reuters) – Lionel Messi won the inaugural  UEFA Best Player in Europe award yesterday, finishing ahead of  Barcelona team mate Xavi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.  
The vote, conducted by sports journalists representing each  of UEFA’s member associations, was organised with the idea of  reviving the spirit of the former European Footballer of the  Year award which is now known as the Ballon D’Or and organised  by soccer’s ruling body FIFA.   

Messi, the overwhelming winner, collected his prize during  the Champions League group-stage draw at the Grimaldi Forum in  Monaco.   

The Argentine international hit 53 goals last season,  including 12 in the Champions League where he finished top  scorer for the third successive season.    

Messi’s last European goal of the season was the second in  Barcelona’s 3-1 final win over Manchester United in May and he  also helped his club to a third straight La Liga title.

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