Published December 30, 2012
Argentine striker Lionel Messi has been elected the "King of European Soccer" for the fourth consecutive season in the annual press poll conducted by the Uruguayan daily El Pais and whose results were released Sunday.
Messi, the top player on FC Barcelona, received 108 votes and beat out teammate Andres Iniesta, who got 93 votes.
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, of Real Madrid, was third with nine votes.
Messi won the poll in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, matching the record set by France's Zinedine Zidane, who was selected as the best European soccer player in 1998, 2001, 2002 and 2003.
Spanish national team coach Vicente del Bosque, who beat out Portugal's Jose Mourinho by nine votes, came in first place, with Spanish coach Josep Guardiola taking third place.
Some 250 reporters from European dailies, weeklies, magazines and news agencies cast ballots for the poll.