Photo: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi snagged Spanish professional soccer’s Best Forward and Best Player prizes for the fifth year running, while Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid received the inaugural award for Most Valuable Player.
“Thanks you for the prizes,” Messi said via video from his native Argentina, where he is recuperating from an injury.
Barça President Sandro Rosell accepted the awards on behalf of the striker.
The newly created MVP award went to the Blancos’ Ronaldo and the Portuguese international was present at the ceremony in Madrid to accept the honor from Spain’s minister of Education, Culture and Sport, Jose Ignacio Wert.
“It is an honor and a privilege to receive this award,” Ronaldo said. “I have to thank my teammates and Madrid and all the people behind this award such as my family.”
Thibaut Courtois of Atletico Madrid was named Best Goalkeeper, while Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos took Best Defender honors and Asier Illarramendi - who left Real Sociedad for the Blancos in July - was selected as Best Midfielder and Breakthrough Player of the 2012/2013 season.
Barça’s Andres Iniesta was recognized as Best Attacking Midfielder.
The award for Best Coach went to Diego Simeone, who guided Atletico Madrid to victory in the Copa del Rey and third place in La Liga.