Messi claims UEFA Best Player award at the expense of Ronaldo, Suarez

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Lionel Messi became the first player to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for a second time, sweeping this year’s vote by a landslide ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona teammate Luis Suarez.

Messi was at his sublime best last season, inspiring Barcelona to the Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles, and that was reflected in the voting, with the result announced on Thursday.

SEE MORE: Barcelona attempting to sign Dynamo Kiev’s Andriy Yarmolenko.

Of the 54 journalists polled, the Argentinian collected 49 votes to win the award for a second time, after doing so in the inaugural 2010-11 season. Ronaldo, last year’s winner, took just three votes and Suarez two.

Messi accepted the award from UEFA president Michel Platini in Monaco, where the draw for the Champions League group stages was taking place.

The 28-year-old said on UEFA’s website: “We’re a unified squad who worked very hard to achieve the goals we did.

“I’m very happy and I would like to thank my teammates – without them I wouldn’t have achieved this.”

SEE MORE: Champions League draw: Chelsea, Manchester United find fortune; Arsenal, City draw giants.

Messi scored an astonishing 43 goals and contributed 18 assists as an ever-present in Barca’s La Liga winning campaign, while he was the joint top-scorer in the Champions League, finding the back of the net on 10 occasions.

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