On the occasion of a special ceremony that was held in Monaco during the 2011-2012 UEFA Champions League group stage draw, FC Barcelona player Lionel Messi was voted the inaugural winner of the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award for the season 2010-2011.
The Argentinian international claimed a total of thirty-eight votes for the newly-created award, leaving his teammate Xavi Hernández in second place with eleven votes, while third-placed Real Madrid CF striker Cristiano Ronaldo received three votes.
The UEFA Best Player in Europe Award was born out of an initiative by UEFA President Michel Platini and was launched in partnership with the European Sports Media (ESM). For the new award, players were judged on their performances during the 2010/11 campaign in all competitions, both domestic and international, and at club and national team levels.
The jury was composed of fifty-three renowned sports journalists representing each of the UEFA member national associations. The journalists voted live, via an electronic voting system, in order to determine the final winner amongst the last three nominees.
Receiving the award on stage from the hands of UEFA President Michel Platini, 24-year-old Lionel Messi said:
“I would like to thank all the people that voted for me, and all my teammates.
“I keep all these awards at home and I still have some space for more. It’s an honour to be so successful and to come up with the goods at the right time; thanks to my teammates for helping me achieve this”.
UEFA Best Player in Europe Award
1 Lionel Messi (ARG) – FC Barcelona (39 votes)
2 Xavi Hernández (ESP) – FC Barcelona (11 votes)
3 Cristiano Ronaldo (POR) – Real Madrid CF (3 votes)
4 Andrés Iniesta (ESP) – FC Barcelona
5 Falcao (COL) – ex FC Porto (Club Atlético de Madrid)
6 Wayne Rooney (ENG) – Manchester United FC
7 Nemanja Vidić (SRB) – Manchester United FC
8 Zlatan Ibrahimović (SWE) – AC Milan
Gerard Piqué (ESP) – FC Barcelona
10 Manuel Neuer (GER) – ex FC Schalke 04 (FC Bayern München)
*Due to technical reasons, the vote of one journalist was not counted, but was subsequently registered as attributed to Lionel Messi.