Our vote to find the Best Performance by an Argentine in a Foreign League of 2006-2007 ended on Monday night. The votes were counted, the winner’s website contacted, and now they’ve got back to me I’m delighted to announce the winner, chosen by the readers of Hasta El Gol Siempre, is…
No, that’s not our award he’s holding
Barcelona may have missed out on La Liga on the final day, but Lionel Messi has been honoured with our inaugural award, after keeping them in the title race right until the end, at times single-handed. He scored a stoppage time equaliser away to Werder Bremen in the Champions League group stage, to keep Barça’s unbeaten record in the competition going just a little longer from the previous season. He looked good for much of the early period, then picked up an injury.
Whilst he and Samuel Eto’o were out, compatriot Javier Saviola stepped in and did a sterling job – albeit not enough to earn a contract renewal in the eyes of the club’s board. But when it mattered most, the final third of the season, Leo was back and performing better than ever.
There were big goals as the rest of the side struggled, including that brilliant hat-trick against Madrid. There was an astonishing solo goal in the first leg of the King’s Cup semi-final against Getafe, followed by another and two assists. On the penultimate day, another Maradona-like effort, with his hand, helped keep Barcelona in the race, and although they lost out eventually, two further goals on the last day in the 5-1 win away to Gimnàstic de Tarragona put a cap on what has been a brilliant season personally, if not for the team. He’s well and truly announced himself as a fixture in the starting eleven, at the age of just 19.
Messi picked up a massive 50% of the votes in the end, with Carlos Tevez of West Ham United just edging out Internazionale’s Javier Zanetti for 2nd place.
Messi is of course currently preparing for the Copa América with the rest of the selección, but the good people at his official website had this to say about the award:
As always, it’s an honour to recieve a prize in recognition of your work. What makes Leo especially happy is when the prize comes from the votes of football fans.
We’re sure that this recognition will motivate Leo to continue working towards his objectives with the selección and with Barça. Thanks to all the readers of Hasta El Gol Siempre. Good work!
Photo borrowed – with permission! – from leomessi.com