And the winner is ... Messi.
|HOW YOU VOTED
|1. Leo Messi - 48.64%
2. Cristiano Ronaldo - 46.22%
3. Mesut Ozil - 3.81%
4. Radamel Falcao - 1.34%
Messi secured his third successive Ballon d'Or earlier this year and the Argentine went on to break a host of records in 2011-12. The 24-year-old became Barcelona's all-time top scorer as he surpassed club legend Cesar Rodriguez's total of 233 strikes in the famous Blaugrana, and went on to beat the mark for most goals in a single European season, smashing the previous total of 67 set by Bayern Munich legend Gerd Muller in 1972-73. He is currently on 72, with one match still to come as Barca take on Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final on Friday.
In La Liga, meanwhile, the Rosario-born forward hit a half-century to beat Ronaldo's Pichichi record of 40 (set in 2010-11) by a clear 10 strikes. The Argentine also claimed an impressive 15 assists for the Catalan club in the Primera Division, although Pep Guardiola's side missed out on a fourth successive Liga title.
|HEAD-TO-HEAD | The race for the Pichichi prize
That honour went to Ronaldo, who hit 46 goals as Real Madrid attained La Liga success for the first time since 2007-08, including a crucial winner at Camp Nou in last month's Clasico clash against Barcelona. The Portuguese may have lost his Pichichi record and crown from the previous campaign, but he did improve his mark by six strikes and won the prize that had eluded him since moving to Spain in the summer of 2009: La Liga.
Ronaldo also provided plenty of assists, showing a more generous side to his game in 2011-12, linking up excellently with his team-mates and setting up his fair share of goals as Madrid set a new league record of 121 strikes, beating the mark of 107 established by John Toshack's Blancos side in 1989-90.
And those goals also brought a new points record as Madrid became the first team in Spain (or any of Europe's biggest leagues) to reach three figures in a sole season. The landmark haul of 100 points came from an unprecedented 32 Liga victories in 38 games, with four draws and just two defeats in the entire Primera Division campaign.
According to coach Jose Mourinho, Ronaldo deserves to win the next Ballon d'Or, although Messi will also be in the running for a record fourth title.
|Cristiano has to win the Ballon d'Or. Messi scored 50 goals, but they were worthless ...
- Jose Mourinho
Cristiano's colleague Ozil was also in fine fettle in 2011-12 and came in third in the poll, having impressed with 17 assists in La Liga in 2011-12, including the pass which set up Ronaldo for the winner at Camp Nou. Ozil is also likely to feature in the nominations for the next Ballon d'Or, as will Colombia striker Falcao, who scored 24 times in La Liga and led Atletico to Europa League glory in Bucharest recently.
Messi is the winner of this vote, however. The Argentine wasn't able to claim La Liga in 2011-12, but Goal.com readers decided he was the outstanding performer in the Primera Division campaign. So congratulations, Leo! Now be sure to stay tuned in the coming days for the results of the best coach and best goal awards.