Arsene Wenger slams Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or triumph

Lionel Messi poses with his FIFA Men's World Player of the Year award before the Copa del Rey match against Malaga on January 16, 2013
© PA Photos
Arsene Wenger says that Lionel Messi did not deserve to win the 2012 Ballon d'Or, and feels that it should have gone to Andres Iniesta.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels that Barcelona star Lionel Messi did not deserve to win the 2012 Ballon d'Or.

The Argentine won the award for the fourth consecutive occasion when he finished ahead of Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Barca teammate Andres Iniesta.

However, given that the Catalan outfit failed to live up to their own standards by winning either La Liga or the Champions League, Wenger believes that the accolade should have been given to someone else.

"Messi is from a different planet. He's certainly the best player in the world, the best I've ever seen, but I believe that this year he has really been rewarded for what he did individually, rather than what he won for his team," said Wenger.

"For once he has not been in a team that won absolutely everything. He did not win the Champions League, he did not win the Spanish league and he didn't win anything with his country, but individually it's true he had an exceptional year, scoring 91 goals.

"I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I'm more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like Iker Casillas, Cristiano Ronaldo – who won the Spanish championship – and especially Andres Iniesta deserved it more. Iniesta is always number two or three, but he won the European Championship with Spain last year and he could have deserved it this year."

Iniesta finished third in the rankings for the Ballon d'Or last year.

Santiago Bernabeau
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