World Player of the Week: Lionel Messi - Barcelona

World Player of the Week
Lionel Messi
AGE 24
FOR Barcelona
 4-1 Malaga
4-0 Espanyol
Lionel Messi has been breaking record after record this season, and in the past week he shattered two more as he continues to cement his place in football's history books.

The Barcelona forward surpassed Gerd Muller's record of scoring the most goals in a European season in all competitions after netting a hat-trick in their Primera Division encounter against Malaga at Camp Nou in midweek. The 4-1 victory for the Blaugrana in front of their own supporters was not enough for them to keep hold of the title as Real Madrid clinched La Liga for the first time since 2008, but it saw Messi increase his goal-tally to 68 for the season.

The Argentina international remained in destructive mood over the weekend, as he fired in all four goals in Barca’s 4-0 home triumph over Espanyol in the Catalan derby. It was Pep Guardiola’s last game at Camp Nou as Barca coach, and it was a fitting farewell. Messi’s quadruple saw him reach a total of 50 La Liga strikes this term, setting a new record for the most league goals scored in a single European season.

Messi’s second on Saturday evening saw him beat Dudu Georgescu's haul of 47 league goals for Dinamo Bucharest in the 1976-77 Romanian championship, and earned him yet another spot in football’s Hall of Fame.
Congratulations to Messi,'s 155th World Player of the Week winner!

Honourable Mentions

Anis Ben-Hatira - Hertha Berlin

Hertha Berlin got the better of Hoffenheim on the final day of the regular Bundesliga season as they maintained their chances of retaining their status in the German top flight. Ben-Hatira netted twice in their 3-1 home victory, one in each half, as Hertha earned a place in the relegation play-offs.

Sebastian Giovinco - Parma

Parma kept alive their chances of playing European football next season thanks to Giovinco’s heroics over the past week. The Italian playmaker destroyed Inter in midweek, setting up two goals and scoring one in their 3-1 home win, and on Sunday he netted an unstoppable volley in Parma’s 2-0 away success over Siena.

Neymar - Santos

Neymar is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, and he continued to showcase his talent as he won the first leg of the Paulista final for Santos with an inspirational performance against Guarani. The 20-year-old Brazil international helped set up Ganso’s opener in the first half and scored twice in the second period in his side’s comprehensive 3-0 victory.

Yaya Toure - Man City

Toure has been a key figure for City this campaign and he once again guided his side to glory at the weekend. The Ivorian scored both goals for Roberto Mancini’s team as they defeated Newcastle 2-0 away to remain top of the Premier League heading into the final round of matches. Earlier in the week he had led City to a decisive 1-0 win over United at Eastlands.

Jan Vertonghen - Ajax

Vertonghen has been a star for Ajax in defence this season and has even chipped in with crucial goals from time to time. The Belgium international, winner of the Eredivisie Player of the Year award, hit the post twice against VVV in midweek in a 2-0 victory that saw them win the Dutch championship. He then netted his eighth league goal of the season against Vitesse on Sunday as Ajax won 3-1 away.

On Sunday we encouraged our readers to nominate their choices for the best player of the week and here are some of your comments:

A reader who described himself as just Interista in Milano voted for Inter forward Diego Milito for his hat-trick against AC Milan in the Derby della Madonnina on Sunday.

"Messi is not the right man for the award. Diego Milito should be given credit for his hat-trick against Milan, which is a really big achievement. It is a more impressive feat than scoring four goals against Espanyol. Inter were underdogs heading into the clash but Milito turned on the style. He deserves to be recognised for his display."

John in London disagreed and felt that Messi rightly deserved the honours.

"Lionel Messi justifiably should win the award. Although he did not win La Liga in the past week, he made world history and for that reason, and that reason alone, he deserves to be the Player of the Week."

Another reader, Martin in Madrid, backed Chelsea striker Didier Drogba to win the accolade.

"Let's give it to Drogba. He won the FA Cup for Chelsea with his goal against Liverpool to cap off what has been an amazing season for him."

Neal in India felt that Papiss Cisse stole the headlines over the past seven days, and should be recognised.

"Papiss Demba Cisse has been the best player in the world in the last week for me. He scored two wonderful goals against Chelsea and the second goal should be the Goal of the Season in the Premier League."

Thomas in Germany
made his case for Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

"Klaas-Jan Huntelaar should win the award. He scored two more goals this weekend and became the Bundesliga's top scorer - the only Dutch player to win the top scorer award in Bundesliga history."


Each week our worldwide team of editors will put forward a selected candidate, as chosen by International, who deserves recognition for achieving something special that matchday.

You can also help us choose a worthy recipient of the weekly accolade by leaving your nominations and comments here. Your suggestions will be taken into consideration.

It won't necessarily be the best player in the world - at least not usually - but whoever we crown will have accomplished something amazing. It might be for a particularly awesome performance or for something praiseworthy off the pitch - either way, the person in question deserves special attention...