Soccer

Barcelona's Messi given Golden Boot

Lionel Messi has been presented with the Golden Boot award for being the top scorer across all the domestic leagues in Europe last season.

Scored more than Drogba, di Natale

Lionel Messi was presented with the Golden Boot award on Thursday for being the top scorer across the domestic leagues in Europe last season.

The Argentina forward received the prize for having accumulated 34 goals to help Barcelona retain its Spanish league title.

"All awards are special, but it is thanks to the help of my teammates that I have won," Messi said. "I just try to play well and do the things as best I can for my team and my coach."

Messi now joins Marco van Basten, Ronaldo and Cristiano Ronaldo as the only players to have won all three major individual awards: the Golden Boot, FIFA World Player of the Year and the Golden Ball, given to the European footballer of the year.

Chelsea forward Didier Drogba and Udinese striker Antonio di Natale were tied for second place with 29 goals each.

The prize comes after a lacklustre Messi had failed to score a single goal at the World Cup in South Africa. Even so, former Argentina coach Diego Maradona said Wednesday that Messi deserved the award and hoped he would "win many more."

Messi is the second Barcelona player to be honoured by European Sports Magazine. Ronaldo earned the club's first Golden Boot by also scoring 34 goals, in the 1996-97 season.

Barcelona captain Carles Puyol applauded Messi's ability and character.

"He is the best in the world, but he is humble. He improves everyday," Puyol said before the awards ceremony. "He is the best player in the world and he demonstrated that he deserves this award."

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez scored 35 goals last season for Ajax in the Netherlands, but failed to win due to the points system that compensates for the degree of difficulty posed by the major European leagues (English, French, German, Italian and Spanish).

So far this season, Messi has scored two goals in three games in the Spanish league.