Platini predicts Messi clean sweep

MADRID - Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is set to sweep this year's awards for individual players, UEFA president Michel Platini predicted on Wednesday.

Platini was speaking at a news conference at the Bernabeu, home of Barca's arch rivals Real Madrid and had to choose his words carefully but said Messi's achievements last season made him a shoe-in.

"I think that the player I like best at the moment is an Argentine who plays for Barcelona," Platini said.

He added: "I like Messi very much and I think he will win all the trophies for best player at the end of the year.

"He had a fantastic year last year, like Cristiano Ronaldo the year before, and I think he deserves the recognition."

Argentina international Messi was named European Club Player of the Year in August for helping Pep Guardiola's Barca side win the Champions League trophy last season.

The winner of the 2009 Ballon d'Or for the best player in Europe will be announced on December 1 and Messi and Real's Portuguese winger Ronaldo, winner last year, were among the 30 players on the shortlist published on Sunday.

Messi is also expected to take Ronaldo's World Player of the Year crown.