'Questions had been asked, but he answered them emphatically' - Goal.com's World Player of the Week Lionel Messi

World Player of the Week
Lionel Messi
AGE 25
FOR Barcelona
4-0 AC Milan
3-1 Rayo Vallecano

This week sees World Player of the Week reach its bicentennial - and who better to claim the 200th prize than arguably the world's finest footballer?

Prior to this week, many were asking whether the current Barcelona side were coming to the end of an incredible era, but Lionel Messi inspired them to two victories that reminded us all of what Tito Vilanova's side have to offer. Messi struck twice in the stunning 4-0 rout of AC Milan in the Champions League - with Adriano Galliani describing his opening effort as "one of the most beautiful things I have seen in football"  - as the Blaugrana completed an amazing turnaround in the tie to book their place in the last eight, reinstalling themselves as favourites for the trophy in the process.

On Sunday, Messi scored twice and provided the assist for David Villa as the Liga leaders recorded a comfortable 3-1 win over Rayo Vallecano. It was the 18th consecutive league game in which he has found the back of the net, and a timely way to silence the section of doubters who felt the Argentina sensation was wanting for form at this crucial stage of the season.

Goal.com's Spanish football expert Ben Hayward describes yet another unforgettable week for the 25-year-old: "When Barcelona prosper, Messi takes much of the acclaim. But when the Blaugrana fail to shine, the spotlight also tends to fall on the Argentine. That's how things work for the world's best player and after the team toiled at San Siro and in back-to-back Clasico clashes against Real Madrid, questions were asked.

"And, as usual, Messi answered them emphatically, leading Tito Vilanova's team to a famous comeback over Milan on Tuesday with a 4-0 win and adding two more superb goals in an absorbing association with David Villa against Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

"It was probably his finest week in an already incredible season - and it could conceivably get even better yet."

Congratulations to Lionel Messi, Goal.com's 200th World Player of the Week winner!

The Shortlist

Oscar Cardozo - Benfica

  @Ricky_A1: "Beautiful touch and finesse. Complete class."

Goal.com's Stephen McIlkenny: "The third-top European goalscorer in Portugal with 29. Says it all, really."

Emad Moteab - Al Ahly


Goal.com's Mahmoud Maher: "Scored twice as Ahly won outside Cairo - again. It doesn't happen very often!"

Yann Sommer - Basel

  @RosvallGK: "An amazing goalkeeping talent."

Goal.com's Joe Wright: "He's had a big hand in the Swiss champions' Europa League adventure."

Burak Yilmaz - Galatasaray

@buseterim: "Keep calm and believe in Burak Yilmaz."

Goal.com's Miles Chambers: "Joint-top scorer in the Champions League - now Real Madrid are in his sights."