Modest Messi: I'm not King of the World

MADRID - World Player of the Year candidate Lionel Messi does not feel like the planet's number one football player and has put his phenomenal personal success over the past year down to playing in a great team.

The Barcelona and Argentina forward is the favourite to win the World Player award, to be presented later on Monday, after helping Barca to six titles in 2009 - the Spanish league and King's Cup, the European Champions League, the Spanish and European Super Cups and the Club World Cup.

"No, please, I am not King of the World now, nor the number one, I don't believe in those things," Messi said in an interview with Spain's El Periodico newspaper on Monday.

"I am the same person as always and I have the good fortune to play in a great team," the 22-year-old added. "I don't feel like the best, the best is Barca."

Messi already has the 2009 Ballon d'Or award, finishing ahead of last year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo by a record 240-point margin in the vote by journalists across the world organised by France Football magazine.

He is expected to succeed the Real Madrid and Portugal forward as FIFA World Player when the winner is announced at a gala ceremony at the Kongresshaus in Zurich.

"I only think of the group and that nobody has ever been able to win what we have, and that is what gives me more pleasure," Messi told el Periodico.

"Later on, of course, individual awards are also nice," he added. "It was an historic year for Barca and for me but it's thanks to the work of everyone."

The other players in the running for the award are Ronaldo and his Real Madrid team mate Kaka and Messi's Barca team mates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.


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