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Football Whispers

Messi delighted by La Liga honour

Lionel Messi said he was proud after his peers voted him La Liga's best player for the fourth successive season.

• De Boer: Messi the best ever

The 2011-12 Premios LFP winners, voted for by players and coaches at each Spanish club, were announced in Madrid on Tuesday.

Messi was named as best player and best forward, with his Barcelona clubmates Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol picking up the prizes for best attacking midfielder and fair play. Former Barca boss Josep Guardiola was again named best coach.

Real Madrid were also honoured, with Iker Casillas named best goalkeeper, Sergio Ramos best defender and Xabi Alonso best holding midfielder, while Malaga's Isco, 20, was chosen as the revelation of the season.

Messi, whose 50 goals saw him pip Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to take the overall best player award, said he was grateful to those who had voted for him.

"I want to thank the coaches who voted for me as best forward and my fellow players who made me the best player," the Argentine said. "It gives me a lot of pride, excitement and joy."

Madrid captain Casillas was named ahead of Barca's Victor Valdes and Real Zaragoza's Roberto in the goalkeeper category.

"I want to thank the coaches who thought of me as the best keeper last season," Casillas said. "I am happy with this recognition and hope to win again next year, which would be a third time for me."

Iniesta saw off Santi Cazorla (now of Arsenal, but then of Malaga) and Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid) to win his third attacking midfielder award.

"This is something very special, because your own work has been recognised and that makes you very happy," he said. "I hope I will have more opportunities to be back here in the coming years, because that would say I am still growing as a player. That is what I am most concerned about."

Benat Etxeberria, of Real Betis, and Barca's Sergio Busquets were runners-up to Alonso in the holding midfielder category. "I am proud to be honoured with this prize in a league as competitive as the Liga BBVA," Alonso said.

"Obviously this is the fruit of the league title won last year by all of [Madrid's] team. I am very happy."

Prizes for last season's Segunda Division were also announced, with 2011-12 champions Deportivo picking up awards for best coach (Jose Luis Oltra), player (Juan Carlos Valeron), goalkeeper (Dani Aranzubia) and attacking midfielder (Andres Guardado, now at Valencia).

Depor's fellow Galicians Celta Vigo were also recognised with awards for best defensive midfielder (Alex Lopez) and forward (Iago Aspas).

Barcelona's Marc Bartra won La Segunda's best defender award for his performances with Barca B last season, while Javi Hervas, who has since joined Sevilla from Cordoba, was named the revelation of the campaign.

The best player and best coach award are chosen by all footballers who played in Spain's first and second tiers last season, while the best in each position are chosen by all coaches using criteria laid down by the LFP's technical committee. Official supporters' associations choose the fair play awards.


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