UEFA has named Barcelona forward Lionel Messi as the Best Player in Europe for the 2010-11 season.
Messi claimed 38 votes for the newly-created award, putting him some distance ahead of Barcelona team-mate Xavi, in second place with 11 votes, and third-placed Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo, who received just three votes.
The UEFA Best Player in Europe Award is given to players on the basis of their performances for club and country. The award is designed to replace the old Ballon d'Or award for the best player in Europe, which has been supplanted by the FIFA Ballon d'Or award for the best player in the world.
Messi enjoyed a hugely successful season with his club, scoring 31 goals in the league to help clinch the league title and putting in a man-of-the-match performance in the Champions League final victory over Manchester United.
"I'd like to thank all the people that voted for me, and all my team-mates," Messi said. "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 team-mates for helping me achieve this.
"[My motivation] comes from being at a club that's so successful and having a structure that allows us to be so successful. That was taught to me when I moved over and I've tried my best to keep it up."