Messi claims first POTM award

Balotelli trains with Brescia after signing for home town club

Lionel Messi has been named La Liga’s Player of the Month for January, becoming only the second Barcelona player to win the award since its inception.

The award, which was introduced in the 2013-14 season, was claimed for the first time by a Barcelona player in November, when Neymar was selected by a panel of judges.

Messi has finally added his name to a relatively short list of winners at the 23rd attempt, having scored six goals last month, including a hat-trick against Granada.

“FC Barcelona forward Lionel Andres Messi has been named Liga BBVA Player of the Month for January, after some imperious performances throughout the first month of the year,” read an official La Liga statement.

“Messi’s remarkably consistent form is a constant reminder of exactly why he is such a key figure in Luis Enrique’s side.

“The Argentine constitutes one part of one of the most feared attacking trios in Liga BBVA history alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez: the MSN.

“Barcelona’s start to the calendar year was almost flawless, with four wins and a draw, in which the 28-year-old scored six times, including a hat-trick against Granada CF as well as important strikes against Atletico Madrid, Athletic Club and Malaga.”

Messi has made 17 La Liga appearances this season, netting 12 goals and providing five assists.