Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that Lionel Messi would not have got his vote for the Ballon d'Or, indicating his Barcelona teammate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo were more deserving instead because of their team accomplishments.
The Argentina star won the accolade for the fourth year in a row in January, securing 41.6 percent of the vote ahead of the other two leading candidates Ronaldo (23.68 percent) and Iniesta (10.91). The 25-year-old Messi had an incredible 2012 from an individual point of view, netting an astounding 91 goals in 69 games from club and country - surpassing Germany forward Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year.
Wenger, who did insist the Barca man is the best player he has ever seen, believes that the attacker should not have won the award this time around though in an interview with Arsenal's official website. Wenger suggested the fact that the Argentine did not win any team trophies should have counted against him, while stating he is "more a fan of collective sport" and that Iniesta would have received his vote.
When asked if Messi would have got his vote in the interview, Wenger replied. "No, not this year. For me Messi is certainly the best player I have ever seen in the game, but I believe that this year he has really been rewarded for what he did individually, rather than what he won for his team.
"For once he has not been in a team that won absolutely everything. He did not win the Champions League, he did not win the Spanish league and he didn’t win anything with his country, but individually it’s true he had an exceptional year, scoring 91 goals.
"I believe he has been rewarded for that, but for me I’m more a fan of collective sport, so I feel people like Casillas, Ronaldo – who won the championship – and especially Iniesta deserved it more.
"He’s always No. 2 or 3, but he won the European championship with Spain – he could have deserved it this year."
"We are a team sport so collective achievements should have an impact. Anyway, I am not a big fan of individual awards in football to start with, but when it happens I think it should be the consequence of a special team achievement as well. If you have been the best player in a team that did something special, then yes, you should win it. That’s why my vote would have been for Andres Iniesta."
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