By Greg Stobart
Andriy Shevchenko has lauded Lionel Messi after winning his fourth consecutive Fifa Ballon d'Or and declared the Barcelona striker "incredible".
Messi beat team-mate Andres Iniesta and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the prestigious award and became the only player to ever win the prize four times.
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Former AC Milan and Chelsea striker Shevchenko has heaped praise on the 25-year-old and argues that despite the strong competition for the title, after scoring 91 goals in a calendar year, 2012 belonged to Messi.
“I think all three nominees were amazing in 2012 but Lionel Messi was something special. To score 91 goals in a full year is unbelievable," Shevchenko told Goal.com.
“Both him and Cristiano are great but Leo Messi is incredible."
The former Ukraine attacker, who was also a recipient of the award in 2004, spoke of his own pride at being named the best player of the year, and believes it is one of the pinnacles of any footballer's career.
“To win the Ballon D’Or was a very special day for me," he added. "To win the award and be named the best player in the year is something very special in your life.”