Iniesta lands UEFA gong
Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta received the UEFA Best Player in Europe award on Thursday after pipping Cristiano Ronaldo and club-mate Lionel Messi in a journalists' poll.
It is his second major individual honour of the summer, after he was named Player of the Tournament for his role in Spain's triumph at UEFA EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.
The award was decided by 53 European journalists who cast their votes during Thursday's UEFA Champions League group-stage draw in Monaco.
Iniesta, 28, received 19 votes, with Ronaldo and Messi -- the winner of last year's inaugural prize -- each receiving 17. "I am very honoured and I dedicate this award to my Barcelona and Spain team-mates," said Iniesta, who received the award from UEFA president Michel Platini.
"I am privileged to be here with two such great footballers as Leo and Cristiano."
An artful attacking midfielder, Iniesta has won every major honour in the game with Barcelona and Spain over the last four years and notably scored the extra-time winner against the Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ final in South Africa.
Despite his success at EURO 2012, Iniesta saw Barcelona miss out to Ronaldo's Real Madrid in last season's La Liga title race, while the Blaugrana also fell to eventual champions Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Champions League.