Monaco: Lionel Messi has won the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the 2010-11 season.
Messi beat his Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez and Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in a poll of journalists from across Europe.
Argentina forward Messi scored 53 goals as he and Xavi led Barcelona to the Champions League and Spanish titles.
A panel of 53 journalists drawn from each of UEFA`s member nations voted ahead of the draw for this season`s Champions League group stage.
UEFA created the honor after "France Football" magazine combined its traditional European award with FIFA`s world player prize.
Messi won that award in January when Xavi placed third.