Barcelona star Lionel Messi has lavished praise on Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery after the Frenchman picked up UEFA's Best Player in Europe award.
Ribery beat off competition from Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo to win the title and the Argentine international believes the 30-year-old fully deserves the accolade.
Messi, speaking to UEFA, said of being up for the award: "It was an honour to be in this race again, among the best three players in Europe.
"There are so many great players in the world and it is a real pleasure to be in the competition, but he [Ribery] deserved to win the trophy."
Messi also revealed how much Barcelona were hurting after their embarrassing 7-0 aggregate loss to Ribery's Bayern.
"We always want to achieve more. Winning the league was very important because of what it signified – winning it back after Real Madrid had won it last year," Messi added.
"There's also a bitter taste after what happened in the semi-final against Bayern Munich, where there was a big gap between the two teams – we didn't go into it in our best shape.
"But that's the past and we have to look forward."
Messi will be back in Champions League action next week when Barcelona take on Group H rivals Ajax at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.
The La Liga champions were also paired with Scottish Premier League winners Celtic and Serie A giants AC Milan.
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