Messi credits Barca

MADRID - World Player of the Year candidate Lionel Messi does not feel like the planet's No 1 soccer player and has put his phenomenal personal success over the past year down to playing in a great team.

MADRID - World Player of the Year candidate Lionel Messi does not feel like the planet's No 1 soccer player and has put his phenomenal personal success over the past year down to playing in a great team.

The Barcelona and Argentina forward is the favourite to win the World Player award, to be presented on Monday, after helping Barca to six titles in 2009: Spain's La Liga and King's Cup, the European Champions League, the Spanish and European Super Cups and the Club World Cup.

"No, please, I am not King of the World now, nor the No 1. I don't believe in those things," Messi said in an interview with Spain's el Periodico newspaper yesterday.

"I am the same person as always and I have the good fortune to play in a great team," the 22-year-old added. "I don't feel like the best, the best is Barca."

Messi already has the 2009 Ballon d'Or award, finishing ahead of last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo by a record 240-point margin in the vote by journalists in France Football magazine.

He is expected to succeed the Real Madrid and Portugal forward as Fifa World Player at a gala ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich.

"I only think of the group and that nobody has ever been able to win what we have, and that gives me more pleasure."

"Later on, individual awards are also nice. It was a historic year for Barca and for me but it's thanks to the work of everyone."

Other players in the running are Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammate Kaká and Messi's Barca teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta. - Reuters

X