2 Dec 2009

Messi wins European player of the year award

6:43 am on 2 December 2009

Barcelona's Lionel Messi has won the acclaimed Ballon d'Or award for the European Footballer of the Year.

French magazine France Football said the 22-year-old Argentine beat 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second by a massive margin - 473 points to 233.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard were eighth and 10th respectively.

The award is decided by a poll of world football journalists from a shortlist of 30 players.

Third and fourth place in the voting were Messi's Barcelona team-mates, midfielders Xavi (170 points) and Andres Iniesta (149).

Striker Samuel Eto'o, who left Barcelona for Inter Milan during the close-season, was fifth.

Messi played a key role as Barca won the treble of Champions League, domestic league and cup last season.