Iniesta wins UEFA Best Player in Europe award

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta won the UEFA Best Player in

Europe award for the 2011-2012 season on Thursday.

Iniesta earned 19 votes in the poll of journalists from across

Europe, two more than Barcelona teammate and last year’s winner,

Lionel Messi, and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 28-year-old Iniesta was instrumental in helping Spain

successfully defend its European Championship title this summer and

was crowned the tournament’s best player.

A three-man shortlist was selected by a panel of 53 journalists

drawn from each of UEFA’s member nations. The same journalists then

voted for the winner immediately after the draw for this season’s

Champions League group stage.

UEFA created the honor after France Football magazine combined

its traditional European award with FIFA’s world player prize.