MADRID, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta showed there are more great players in the world than just Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi when he was named as the best player in Europe for the 2011/2012 season by UEFA on Thursday.
The announcement was made in Monaco following the draw for the Champions League in which Iniesta (and Messi's) club, FC Barcelona, were drawn to face Benfica, Glasgow Celtic and Spartak Moscow.
Iniesta was named ahead of Messi and Ronaldo, who each claimed 17 votes behind his 19. It means that he has finally won an individual award after so often having to settle for second or third place in awards such as the Balon D'Or and FIFA World player behind Ronaldo and Messi.
The UEFA award comes on the back of Iniesta being named as the MVP of the European Championships for his important role this summer in helping Spain retain their crown as European Champions. It should not be forgotten that Iniesta also scored the winning goal as Spain beat Holland 1-0 in the final of the 2010 World Cup.
"I am happy to have this trophy and also to be able to congratulate them (Messi and Ronaldo) as well," said Iniesta.
"It is a real privilege to be here with two monsters of football. I want to share this with Leo (Messi), my teammates from my club and also from the national team, because without them an individual award has not got any meaning," he continued.
As well as playing football, Iniesta has invested in vineyards in his home region of La Mancha and will no doubt be able to raise a glass in celebration.
Other Spanish players among the top-10 players of the season named by UEFA include Barca midfielder, Xavi Hernandez and Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, while Atletico Madrid's Colombian forward Radamel Falcao and Real's German midfielder Mesut Ozil also made the list.