Strike up another win for Messi
Updated: 2015-12-02 07:52
By Agencies in Madrid and London(China Daily)
Barcelona stars Neyma (left) and Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in this composite of the three finalists for the 2015 Ballon d'Or, awarded to the world's best player. Messi has won the award four times and Ronaldo has claimed it three times, while Neymar is a finalist for the first time. Patrik Stollarz / Gerard Julien / Josep Lago / AFP
Barcelona star's trophy case gets familiar addition
Barcelona star Lionel Messi, the favorite to win FIFA's prestigious Ballon d'Or title, on Monday was voted the top striker in the Spanish league, ahead of Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
It marks the sixth time the Argentine has won the title in seven editions of the trophy, with the prize presented during a gala ceremony in Barcelona on Monday night.
Messi, who scored 43 goals and was the catalyst for Barcelona's run to three titles last season - the Champions League, La Liga and the Spanish Cup - was selected following a computer analysis of statistics in the championship.
"I'm proud to receive this award ahead of so many important players in La Liga," said Messi.
"This award in particular I want to dedicate to my son Thiago (aged 3), even if he still doesn't understand very well. Every time I leave the house he gets angry and asks me: 'Papa, are you going again to score goals?' This award is for him."
Messi also won the vote for the best striker following a poll of the captains of each of Spain's top flight sides.
Barcelona's Claudio Bravo was voted the best goalkeeper and Luis Enrique top coach while Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos and James Rodriguez were named best defender and top midfielder, respectively.
Valencia's Algerian midfielder Sofiane Feghouli was voted the top African player and Barcelona's Brazilian striker Neymar, the best player from the American continent.
Real Madrid's Portuguese star Ronaldo, who scored the most La Liga goals last season with 48, won the public's choice award.
Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar were all named on Monday's shortlist for FIFA's Ballon d'Or which will be awarded on Jan 11.
While Ronaldo has triumphed over the past two seasons (in a total of three wins), Messi has previously claimed the coveted award four times while Neymar makes the shortlist for the first time.
Neymar, 23, said it was "a great honor" to be named for the first time alongside his illustrious La Liga rivals.
For the seventh time in eight years, the dynamic duo of Barcelona's Messi and Real Madrid's Ronaldo are expected to fill the top two places on the podium in Zurich in January for the coveted accolade of being the year's leading player.
Even before the award was merged with France Football's Ballon d'Or in 2010, the World Player of the Year had effectively become an annual private 'Clasico' between two of the great players of any generation.
Messi, who will now have been on the podium for an amazing nine successive years, won four times in succession between 2009 and 2012, while Portugal's Ronaldo has won three times - once when he was at Manchester United in 2008 and the most recent two editions at Real Madrid.