Top scorer Messi bags record third Golden Shoe

Barcelona's Argentine star striker Lionel Messi received his third Golden Shoe award on Wednesday as the top league scorer in Europe for his 46 goals in the 2012-2013 season.

Top scorer Messi bags record third Golden Shoe
With 46 goals in 32 league appearances last season, Messi became the first player ever to win three Golden Shoe awards, after bagging it in 2010 and 2012. Photo: Lluis Gené/AFP

At the awards ceremony, Messi, 26, shared credit with his Barcelona team mates, Spanish league champions last season and currently leaders of the table.

"I am really pleased. It is a really beautiful prize. It is a recognition of the (Barcelona) dressing room and of all that the team has been doing all year," he said.

Messi is currently sidelined with a torn hamstring after limping off during Barcelona's 4-1 win over Real Betis on November 10 — his fourth injury in a year.

His club said he could be out of action for up to eight weeks.

The Argentina captain said at Wednesday's ceremony that he was "getting better little by little and luckily there is no more pain".

As for his return to action, "it all depends on how things go. I will be back, but I will not put a date on when," he added.

"My aim is to come back and strengthen my whole body so that nothing goes wrong and I can play without worrying."

With 46 goals in 32 league appearances last season, Messi became the first player ever to win three Golden Shoe awards, after bagging it in 2010 and 2012.

He was already the only player to win European football's top individual award, the Ballon d'Or, four times.

He was handed Wednesday's award by the club's Bulgarian former star Hristo Stoichkov at a ceremony in Barcelona also attended by team mates including Carles Puyol and Cesc Fabregas.

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‘Diego is eternal’: Messi pays tribute to Maradona

Lionel Messi paid tribute to Diego Maradona on Wednesday by calling him "eternal" after his fellow Argentine died of a heart attack.

'Diego is eternal': Messi pays tribute to Maradona
Diego Maradona hugs Lionel Messi after 2010 World Cup quarter final Argentina vs Germany. Photo: AFP

“A very sad day for all Argentines and football,” Messi wrote on Instagram. “He has left us but he will never leave us because Diego is eternal. I will keep all the beautiful moments that I lived with him and would like to send my condolences to all his family and friends. RIP.”






A post shared by Leo Messi (@leomessi)

Messi and Maradona have often been compared in the debate about who was the greatest footballer of all time.

Both players are icons in Argentina and have been likened to each other due to their global status, dribbling style and famous number 10 shirts.    

Maradona was also Messi's coach during his brief time in charge of the national team, which included Argentina being thrashed by Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

A banner held up during 2014 FIFA World Cup on June 25, 2014. Photo: AFP


Maradona spent two years at Barcelona, where Messi is now captain and the club's all-time top scorer, although Maradona's greatest years were spent with Napoli in Italy.

Asked about Maradona in 2010, Messi said: “Even if I played for a million years, I'd never come close to Maradona. Not that I'd want to anyway. He's the greatest there's ever been.”