The greatest footballer of this generation collected yet another individual award to add to his already packed trophy case. The Argentine was the obvious winner; of the 52 voters, 38 selected him, proving just how superior he was in competition during this past season. His coronation was never in doubt.
The second-most votes went to Xavi Hernandez, arguably the second-best player on the planet these days (although teammate Iniesta may have something to say about that), with 11 votes. This is not the first time that one of Barcelona's midfield dynamos has missed out on a major individual award because of Messi—you could almost say they were born in the wrong era as far as competing for individual awards is concerned.
Finally, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was a distant third with only three votes (from the representatives of San Marino, Armenia and his home country Portugal), after a season in which he broke the La Liga goal record with a hugely impressive 40 goals. However, this was not enough to surpass Barcelona's two stars, particularly Messi.
With each passing award, he further cements his status as this generation's best player and one of the best of all-time. There is little doubt that he will now go on to lift his third consecutive Ballon d'Or in January, possibly with Xavi and Ronaldo coming second and third again (although Andrés Iniesta also has a realistic shot at being a finalist).
In short, it was the expected outcome. The world's best player won the award for best player in Europe in the 2010/2011 season. If he keeps this up, Messi will soon run out of space to store all his individual accolades!
1st place - Lionel Messi (38 votes)
2nd place - Xavi Hernandez (11 votes)
3rd place - Cristiano Ronaldo (3 votes)
You can follow Manuel Traquete on Twitter @Manueltraquete.