Spain Focuses On Own Ballon d'Or Heroes

Spain's European Championship winning players and Lionel Messi were the focus of the sports press after the Ballon d'Or results were announced and while Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the headlines, he was barely mentioned again.
Cristiano Ronaldo may have won the Ballon d'Or, as expected, but the Spanish press were more concerned with how their Euro 2008 heroes did and celebrated la Primera's representatives piled up behind him.

The Portuguese superstar was always the clear favourite after goalscoring exploits last term, allied with Manchester United's impressive league and Champions League double triumph.

While Ronaldo's win was announced across the four Spanish daily sports publications, the interest was really placed on the positions below where Spain doinated.

Both Catalan papers, Sport and El Mundo Deportivo, were delighted to see Lionel Messi in second place, albeit 165 votes behind the winner, for his impressive 12 months in a team that were unable to win a trophy.

Xavi finished fifth, which was recogintion enough for a player that was one of fundamental components in Luis Aragonés' triumphant side at the European Championships.

Despite being named as UEFA's player of the tournament, he was unable to garner any more than the 97 votes, but was a respectable return from a player that is usually over-looked.

Spain's victory in the summer also saw other key members of its squad noticed with Fernando Torres fnishing in third place and Iker Casillas in fourth, a superb finish, according to AS, for a keeper.

Further down the list David Villa is highlighted in seventh while Marcos Senna garnered 16 votes, Cesc Fàbregas managed four and Sergio Ramos had thtree to complete the Spanish contingent.

There was little outrage about the outcome given that it was seen as a foregone conclusion, although the poll on Marca saw on 62 per cent of readers agree that Ronaldo should have won it.

Lucas Brown,