http://www.sina.com.cn 2009年12月03日 11:25
Argentina'sLionel Messi has won the Golden Ball awarded to the European Footballerof the Year, becoming the sixth Barcelona player to take the award andthe first since Brazilian Ronaldinho in 2005.
Messibeat last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second place while Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez finished third in the poll results released by France Football magazine early Tuesday。
Hailed by Argentina great Diego Maradona as his successor, Messi won an unprecedented treble in Spain last season with Barcelona as the Catalan side swept the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Copa del Rey。
The 22-year-old Messi, the first Argentine to win the prestigious trophy,was the top scorer in last year's Champions League with nine goals,including his superb header in the 2-0 victory over Manchester United in the final。
Messi, who tallied 473 of a possible 480 points, largely dominated the voting and won witha record-margin of 240 points. Real Madrid winger Ronaldo had 233 and Xavi had 170.
"Honestly,I knew that I was among the favorites because Barcelona had a fruit fulyear in 2009," Messi was quoted as saying by the magazine. "But I didn't expect to win with such a margin. The Golden Ball is very important to me. All the players who won it were great players, andsome great players never won it."
Barcelona had three players in the Top 5 with Andres Iniesta taking fourth ahead of former Barca player Samuel Eto'o。
In an outstanding season, Messi netted 38 goals in 51 games in all competitions, often leaving defenders in his wake with a combination of speed, exceptional dribbling abilities and his effective left-footed strike。
Messi,who led Argentina to next year's World Cup in South Africa, recently signed a new contract with Barcelona through 2016 and has a buyout clause of 250 million euros ($368 million) included。
Messihad a good start to this season - already scoring nine goals - and puton a great display to help his club defeat archrival Real Madrid 1-0last Sunday。
"It won't be easy to confirm after a year like the one we just went through," Messi said. "I hope the next one will reach the same standards. But to win the Golden Ball two years in a row is not an easything."