MONACO (AP) — Lionel Messi has won the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2010-11 season.
Messi beat his Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in a poll of European journalists.
Argentina forward Messi scored 53 goals as he and Xavi led Barcelona to the Champions League and Spanish titles.
A panel of 53 journalists drawn from each of UEFA’s member nations voted ahead of the draw for this season’s Champions League group stage.
UEFA created the honor after “France Football” magazine combined its traditional European award with FIFA’s world player prize.
Messi won that award in January when Xavi placed third.