Barcelona star Lionel Messi has declared himself "honoured" to have been selected as the Ballon d'Or winner for 2009 after it was revealed that the Argentinian has been crowned the best footballer in Europe.
"It is my great honour to be selected for the Ballon d'Or, but also to be the first Argentine in history to receive this award," he told France Football's website.
He expressed surprise at the margin of victory after securing 473 points, 240 ahead of second placed Cristiano Ronaldo and also declared that collecting this individual award was very important to him.
"Honestly, I knew I was among the favourites, because Barca enjoyed a successful 2009 where we won everything. But I did not expect to win by a margin as large [240 points]. You know, the Ballon d'Or, is something very important to me. All those who won were great players. And some greats have never won it," he noted before setting his sights on replicating this success.
"It will not be easy to repeat a year like we just experienced. I hope the next year will be in the same vein. But winning the Ballon d'Or two years in a row, it's not easy ... "
Paul Madden, Goal.com