Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann has been named as the best player in La Liga at an awards ceremony in Valencia on Monday.
France international Griezmann overcame formidable competition for the prize and won the nod over the likes of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez despite not featuring in the running for the best striker award and failing to win a place in the division’s team of the season, which was named in June.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed the list of 30 nominees for the Ballon d’Or alongside Messi, Suarez and Griezman earlier on Thursday, following his successes with Real Madrid and Portugal in the Champions League and at Euro 2016 respectively, but he was surprisingly not recognised in any category at the Liga awards amid a somewhat contradictory collection of individual winners.
Messi, who claimed the individual Liga gong on six of the previous seven times it was up for grabs, pipped Barcelona top scorer and team-mate Suarez and Athletic Bilbao veteran Aritz Aduriz to the best striker prize, while Uruguay’s Suarez was recognised as La Liga’s “World Player” despite the honours for Argentina’s Messi and France’s Griezmann.
The supporters’ award also went to Griezmann who, like the Barcelona contingent, did not attend the ceremony.