Barcelona striker Lionel Messi once again beat rival Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid to the Spanish first division’s top awards for the 2012-2013 season, winning La Liga’s best player and best striker awards, while Ronaldo had to settle for the league’s equivalent of the “most valuable player award.” During his acceptance speech, Ronaldo suggested that he would have preferred to win the best overall player award.
“It is an honor and privilege to receive this great award for the Most Valuable Player -- it motivates me to keep working harder,” the 28-year-old said. “I am proud to be in the Liga BBVA. 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 toward it.”
Meanwhile, Messi, who is currently back in Argentina recovering from his latest hamstring injury, gave his usual speech via a video feed. "I would like to thank the LFP and the Liga BBVA for this prize,” the Barca striker said. “It is a recognition of the [Barca players’] work all year and without them I would not have scored these goals.”
In other awards, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone won the coach of the year prize, while Barca’s Andres Iniesta won best attacking midfielder. Former Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illaramendi, now of Real Madrid, won best defensive midfielder and Los Blancos’ vice captain Sergio Ramos accepted the best defender prize. Atleti’s Thibaut Courtois was named best goalkeeper.