Lionel Messi Stunned by Angel Di Maria in Argentina Player of the Year Vote

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2014

Angel Di Maria of Argentina is seen during his team's  International Friendly soccer match against Portugal at Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester, England, Tuesday Nov. 18, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Jon Super/Associated Press

Angel Di Maria has beaten the likes of Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero to be named Argentina's foreign-based Player of the Year for 2014.

The Manchester United star's award was reported by Aaron Flanagan of the Mirror. The title was bestowed upon him by Argentina's sports journalists, according to Jamie Anderson of the Express. As noted by the Daily Mail's Nicholas Godden, this is the first time Messi hasn't won the award since 2006.

United tweeted their congratulations:

This accolade rounds off an eventful year for Di Maria, who thrust Real Madrid to Champions League glory, reached the World Cup final with his nation and posted a thrilling start to life at Old Trafford.

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - JUNE 25:  Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates scoring his team's second goal and his second of the game with Ezequiel Lavezzi (L) and Angel di Maria (R) during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Nigeria and Argent
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Di Maria became the most expensive signing in British football history during the summer, costing United a hefty £59.7 million. He formed a key partnership with Messi during the World Cup, in which he netted a winner against Switzerland in the dying moments of extra time to send his side through to the quarter-finals.

Leo was named the tournament's best player, which left FIFA president Sepp Blatter feeling "a little bit surprised," per BBC Sport. Messi's goals and performances did carry Argentina through the competition, with only Germany's Manuel Neuer making more of an individual impression for his side.

However, Messi's 56 calendar goals, per Flanagan, and slew of record-breaking achievements were overlooked in the vote. He became the all-time leading goalscorer in both La Liga and the Champions League during 2014, but Di Maria still pipped him to the national prize.

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MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 26:  Angel Di Maria of Manchester United competes with Nemanja Matic of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford on October 26, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Phot
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sergio Aguero's resurgence since the World Cup—which has included a hat-trick against Bayern Munich—has, like the majority of his 2014, been hindered by injury.

Di Maria has also suffered fitness problems of late and hasn't featured for United since the end of November. Louis van Gaal will be hoping his key player—whose natural injection of pace is unrivalled at the club—will be back to full fitness during the busy Christmas schedule.

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