Nigeria midfielder Sunday Mba has been named in the Goal 50, a list of the world’s best footballers for the 2012/13 season.
25-year-old Mba becomes the first Nigerian to grace the elite list. He made the cut on the strength of his immense contribution to Nigeria’s victory at the Africa Cup of Nations, creating an immense legacy for the country’s home-based players.
Lionel Messi has won the Goal 50 award for the world’s best footballer after another record-breaking season.
The Argentinian forward claims the trophy from digital football brand Goal.com for the third time.
The Goal 50 title is in recognition of an incredible campaign during which he beat Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record of 85 goals scored in a calendar year.
The 26-year-old scored 91 goals in 2012 and increased his total as Barcelona’s all-time top scorer to 313 goals in all competitions by the end of the season.
Messi struck in his 19th consecutive La Liga game in March 2013, becoming the first footballer in history to score in consecutive matches against every team in a major professional league.
After receiving the trophy from Goal.com’s Barcelona correspondent Pilar Suarez at the club’s training ground, Messi said: “I’m very excited about this. As players, we work the entire year to win honours for the team, we don’t look for the individual awards, but when they come it’s an incentive and gives us strength to continue on the same path.”
The Goal 50 is regarded as one of the most credible and respected awards in sport because it is chosen by the world’s biggest football website.
Voting takes place at the end of domestic and international seasons for the majority of countries.
More than 500 Goal.com journalists from around the world select their top 50 players, giving a truly global view.
Messi heads this year’s list in front of second-placed Franck Ribery, who helped European champions Bayern Munich win the Treble. Last year’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo is third.
Commenting on the results, Graham Shaw, Editorial Director, said: “Messi had a spectacular season and it is incredible to think he has achieved so much by the age of 26. His award this year takes him past Cristiano Ronaldo to a record three Goal 50 titles and recognises the individual brilliance of a player who is rightly recognised by some as the greatest of all time.”