1 Dec 2009

Messi wins Golden Ball

6:07 pm on 1 December 2009

Argentina's Lionel Messi has won the Golden Ball awarded to the European Footballer of the Year.

He's the sixth Barcelona player to take the award and the first since Brazilian Ronaldinho four years ago

Messi beat last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second in the poll results announced by France Football magazine.

He won an unprecedented treble in Spain last season as Barcelona swept the Champions League, the Spanish title and the Copa del Rey.

England's Stanley Matthews won the first Golden Ball in 1956 and other British winners areBobby Charlton, George Best, Denis law Kevin Keegan and Michael Owen.

Michael Platini of France and the Dutchmen Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten are three time winners.