Andres Iniesta claims UEFA's Best Player in Europe award
Barcelona midfielder pips Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to honor
Iniesta was best player of the tournament in Spain's Euro 2012 triumph
Poll of sports journalists decides the winner
Andres Iniesta pipped Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo to win the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award Thursday.
The 28-year-old midfielder was named Player of the Tournament as Spain won Euro 2012 and was in brilliant form for the Catalan giants all season.
Iniesta received his trophy from UEFA president Michel Platini at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco where earlier the Champions League draw had been made.
“I am very honored and I dedicate this award to my Barcelona and Spain teammates,” said Iniesta. “I am privileged to be here with two such great footballers as Leo and Cristiano.”
Iniesta received 19 votes in a poll of sports journalists representing each of UEFA’s member associations.
Goal scoring machines Messi and Ronaldo were tied for second on 17 votes apiece after the three had formed a final shortlist following an initial round of voting.
Iniesta broke Emilio Butragueno’s record of 50 La Liga matches without defeat during the course of last season but he was on the losing side in game 56 as Ronaldo’s Real won 1-0 at the Camp Nou in April to clinch the La Liga crown.
He has won every honor in the game in a glittering career, scoring the extra time goal as Spain beat the Netherlands 1-0 in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa.
Argentina ace Messi won the first edition of the new award which is the brainchild of former French international star Platini.