Lionel Messi has claimed the ‘King of Europe’ award handed out by Uruguayan newspaper El Pais for the 4th year running, equaling Zinedine Zidane’s record.
Messi won 108 votes to claim the award which honours the best player in Europe, with Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta coming in second with 93 votes.
The pair will contest the Ballon d’Or later this month along with Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo, who only accumulated nine votes from the 250 journalists from numerous European newspapers, magazines and press agencies who helped decide the award's fate.
Messi’s win puts him level with Zidane, who claimed the award four times in 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003.
The Argentinian forward had a remarkable 2012 and broke the record for most goals in a single calendar year, finding the back of the net a remarkable 91 times.
El Pais also handed Vicente del Bosque the Coach of the Year award after guiding Spain to glory at the European Championships, ahead of Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho and former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.
Messi remains favourite to claim the Ballon d’Or, also for a record fourth time, when the prize is handed out an award ceremony in Zurich on Monday.