Messi cleans up in awards
Barcelona may have lost their Primera Division title but they had a host of winners in the Professional Football League’s 2011/12 season awards which were announced today, with Lionel Messi named best player and Pep Guardiola best coach.
Barca, who saw their three-year reign as Spanish champions ended by Real Madrid, also saw Messi named the Primera Division’s best striker, Andres Iniesta best attacking midfielder while Carles Puyol won the fair play award. Barcelona B’s Marc Bartra, meanwhile, was voted the best defender in the second division.
Madrid also enjoyed success in the fourth edition of the LFP awards, with Iker Casillas named best goalkeeper, Sergio Ramos best defender and Xabi Alonso best central midfielder.
The awards are voted for by the players and coaches of the top two divisions in Spain.
Messi edged out Madrid duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema for the best player award in the top flight after netting 50 goals last term.
The Argentinian, winning his two awards for the fourth successive year, said: “I want to thank the coaches who have voted me the best player and my professional colleagues who have named me best player. I’m very happy and very proud.”
In his final season at the Nou Camp, Guardiola led Barca to victory in the Copa del Rey, Spanish Super Copa, European Super Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup. The Catalan giants were also second in the Primera Division and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
Madrid captain Casillas, winning his award for the second time, said: “Thanks to all the coaches for putting their trust in me. They are the people who best understand football, and I hope to do it again in the future. This award is also a credit to my team-mates in a season that was pretty good at both an individual and collective level.”
Malaga youngster Isco won the breakthrough player crown in the Primera Division while the best player in the Segunda Division was Deportivo La Coruna veteran Juan Carlos Valeron.