Lionel Messi Beats Cristiano Ronaldo to Top La Liga Award

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 26:  Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou on October 26, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has overcome the threat of Cristiano Ronaldo to win La Liga's best player and best attacker awards.

The official ceremony to acknowledge the achievements of last season—which was bizarrely held four months into the new campaign—provided the Barcelona star with further accolades to increase his personal collection.

Rather oddly, Ronaldo still managed to be named the division's Most Valuable Player, although he didn't seem best pleased to lose out on the more presitigous award, as reported by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN:

For me, this is the best league in the world and I am at the best club in the world. How could I not be happy? Hopefully next year I can win the award for the best player. I will be working towards it.

La Liga Awards 2012-13: Winners
AwardWinnerClub (during last season)
Best PlayerLionel MessiBarcelona
Best AttackerLionel MessiBarcelona
Best Attacking MidfielderAndres IniestaBarcelona
Best Defensive MidfielderAsier IllarramendiReal Sociedad
Best DefenderSergio RamosReal Madrid
Best GoalkeeperThibaut CourtoisAtletico Madrid
Breakthrough Player of the SeasonAsier IllarramendiReal Sociedad
Most Valuable PlayerCristiano RonaldoReal Madrid
Fair Play AwardIker CasillasReal Madrid

Messi wasn't the only player to capture two awards on the night, as Real Madrid's Asier Illarramendi scooped the best defensive midfielder accolade and was named breakthrough star of the season.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 28:  Asier Illarramendi of Real Madrid CF duels for the ball with Gabi Fernandez of Atletico de Madrid during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Bernabeu on September 28, 2013 in Madrid, Spain
David Ramos/Getty Images

The 23-year-old's performances for Real Sociedad and the Spanish Under-21 side earned him a transfer to the Bernabeu during the summer, perhaps greater recognition of his quality from the 2012-13 campaign.

Sergio Ramos also grabbed an award for Real Madrid, as he overcame Jordi Alba and Inigo Martinez to be presented with the best defender title.

If Ronaldo's MVP tag appeared forced to equal the playing field with Messi, Iker Casillas' award for Fair Play seemed even stranger, especially considering the amount of time he has spent on the bench.

Atletico Madrid's Thibaut Courtois took the best goalkeeper prize, which will not have been overlooked by his employers at Chelsea.

As noted in Corrigan's report, Casillas failed to collect his award, although Real Madrid president Florentino Perez offered some kind words on his behalf:

"Casillas is deserving of many awards. But this one, which recognises his sportsmanship, is indisputable," Perez said.

For Messi and Ronaldo, attention now turns to the Ballon d'Or vote. Both are expected to be amongst the final shortlist of three names announced Dec. 9.

Ronaldo is widely acknowledged to be the favourite, due in part to his terrific four-goal haul to send Portugal beyond Sweden and into next summer's World Cup.

Messi's recent injuries, as reported by John Drayton of the Daily Mail Online, ensure he has lost momentum heading into the announcement.