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Last Updated: Tuesday December 01 2009 08:21 GMT

Messi is Europe's best footballer

Lionel Messi

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has been named the 2009 European Footballer of the Year.

Messi helped Barcelona win three trophies last season - the Champions League, Spanish league and Spanish Cup.

He picked up 473 votes out of a possible 480, beating the 2008 winner Cristiano Ronaldo into second place.

Two other Barcelona players were in the top five and another, Inter Milan's Samuel Eto'o, was at the Spanish side last season as well.

The highest placed British player was Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, who came eighth.

Top five footballers
Cristiano Ronaldo
1 - Lionel Messi
2 - Cristiano Ronaldo
3 - Xavi
4 - Andres Iniesta
5 - Samuel Eto'o

The European Footballer of the Year award is organised by a French football magazine.

Messi has already bagged nine goals this season, and is thinking about winning the trophy again in 2010.

Messi said: "I hope the next one will reach the same standards. But to win the Golden Ball two years in a row is not an easy thing."