Lionel Messi
The greatest footballer of his generation - and still just 24 - Messi scored 53 goals in all competitions for Barcelona in the 2010/11 season. That followed 47 goals the previous year and 38 in 2008/09. He was voted FIFA Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010 and has been nominated again for 2011. Messi played a significant role in Barcelona’s Champions League success in 2011, their third in six years, scoring a total of 12 goals.
In the first leg of the semi-finals, he gave a memorable performance, scoring twice against arch-rivals Real Madrid in the 2–0 win, the second being a superlative individual goal. In the final against Manchester United he scored the crucial second goal in the 3-1 win. His playing style and ability have drawn comparisons to many of the footballing giants of the past, including the legendary Diego Maradona, who himself has said that Messi is his successor.
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