|Spain marvels at Messi achievement
Spain bathed in glory after Barcelona star Lionel Messi won the Ballon d'Or for best footballer of the year for a record fourth time, cementing his claim to be one of the greatest players of all time.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque also snatched top honors, in recognition of their Euro 2012 triumph, which followed its 2010 World Cup win and Euro 2008 crown, to top a virtual clean sweep for Spanish and La Liga players at the prestigious awards, FAP reports.
But it was the smiling 25-year-old Argentine international who stole the show, with pictures of him picking up the FIFA prize in Zurich dressed in an eye brow-raising black and white-spotted suit and bow tie, splashed across front pages.
"Spain!!!'' headlined Madrid-based Marca, Spain's biggest-selling sports daily and a favorite of Real Madrid fans. “Unique, unmatchable Messi,’’ the paper said after the striker scored a stunning 91 goals in 2012 in all competitions, erasing the 40-year-old record of German legend Gerd Mueller of 85. “Leo Messi was crowned yesterday as the best player in history,'' Marca said. “No-one until now had won four Ballons d'Or in a row. Leo has done it, and consecutively.’’
Rival sports daily AS, too, lavished praise on Messi.
“Since we have known him, every year he plays better, every year he scores more goals,’’ said columnist Alfredo Relano. “I have never seen a player with such power. He lacks aesthetic but he has plenty of everything else.’’
“Golden Messi,’’ headlined the Barcelona-based Mundo Deportivo, adding: “Leo Messi is the greatest. Huge. Unique.''