Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi pips Cristiano Ronaldo to ESPN’s Athlete of the Year award

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo were among the nominees for the ESPN Athlete of the Year award.

As published in ESPN on Thursday, Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has been awarded the ESPY honour, a recognition given to the best international athlete of the year.

Not just football, the prestigious honour recognises athletes of all sports as recent Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, golfer Lydia Ko and F1 driver Lewis Hamilton were also contenders.

However, Argentine international Messi picks up the award – his second after his 2012 triumph - ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo for his efforts during a wonderful campaign at the Nou Camp.

Forming a world class trio alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez, Messi and his Barcelona teammates won a memorable treble success of La Liga, the Copa Del Rey and Champions League.

From a personal perspective, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner contributed to 85 club goals in all competitions via goals and assists, more than any other player in Europe

The 28-year-old’s perfect season was dealt a cruel blow on the international scene, Messi again finishing as a runner-up as Argentine lost the Copa America final to Chile on penalties.

Nevertheless, it did his chances of winning ESPN’s prestigious honour no harm at all and the Barca superstar is widely tipped to follow it up with yet another Ballon d’Or this coming January.

Messi was also nominated for ESPN’s greatest sporting moment of the year for his wonderful solo goal in the Copa Del Rey final, but he was beaten to the award by American Football star Odell Beckham Jr of the New York Giants.

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