Football

Sergio Martinez more popular than Lionel Messi in Argentina

Messi was voted Argentine Footballer of the Year. (©GettyImages)
Messi was voted Argentine Footballer of the Year. (©GettyImages).

Despite setting the record for the most goals scored in a calendar year, Barcelona forward Lionel Messi has failed to succeed himself as Sportsman of the Year in his home country of Argentina.

The South American star, who has scored 90 goals in 2012 with one game left to play, finished second in a poll that saw Argentine journalists choose WBC World Champion Sergio Martinez as winner of the Olimpia de Oro.

Messi, 25, was tipped to continue his impressive trophy haul by claiming the prestigious award, but the 37-year-old boxer Sergio 'Maravilla' Martinez - who became WBC World Champion by beating Mexican Julio César Chavez Jr. in September - pulled no punches as he outfought Messi to take the title.

Maravilla is a worthy winner however, with an impressive career record of 50 wins, two losses and two draws to his name.

Messi wasn't to go without recognition however, as the Argentine journalists voted the Barcelona superstar Argentine Footballer of the Year, as he received more votes than colleagues Sergio Agüero and Gonzalo Higuain of Manchester City and Real Madrid respectively.

The award caps a remarkable season for 'La Pulga', in a year where he was also named as part of the ESM Team of the Year and is on course to finish as top goalscorer in the Champions League. In Spain, Messi was voted as Best Forward and Best Player of the Priméra Division.

On December 18, Messi extended his contract at Barcelona until 2018. In 354 games, the Argentine forward has scored 287 goals, having been with the Catalan giants since 2000. This calendar year, Messi has scored 90 goals in 69 games, smashing the 40-year-old record of German Gerd Müller, who scored 85 times in 60 games in 1972.

Speaking about Messi's achievement, Müller said: "My record stood for 40 years, and now the best player of the world has broken it. I'm delighted for him. He's an incredible player."

On November 2, Messi became father for the first time following the birth of his son Thiago. Away from football, he is also an ambassador of UNICEF and Turkish Airlines.

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