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FC Bayern München forward Franck Ribéry has crowned a memorable 2012/13 season by collecting the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
Ribéry received the 2012/13 award from UEFA President Michel Platini after being chosen ahead of FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid CF's Cristiano Ronaldo in a live vote by journalists who had to select, via an electronic voting system, their favourite from a world-class three-man short list.
Ribéry was joined on the stage at the Grimaldi Forum by Messi in a special ceremony that followed the UEFA Champions League group stage draw. The France international is the third player to win this award after Andrés Iniesta (2011/12) and Messi himself (2010/11), and he said: "It's always nice to win this trophy; it's a special moment for me to be here this evening. I want to thank all my team-mates and the directors at Bayern, and the supporters. We've had a fantastic year, and a big hello to all my family, my children and my wife."
For Ribéry, the fact he was selected ahead of arguably the two most celebrated players of the current era made the prize all the sweeter. "It is a special thing to win trophies like this, knowing that you are one of the three nominated players along with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. It is flattering to be alongside those two great players."
Reflecting on a memorable campaign with treble-winning Bayern, who beat Borussia Dortmund to win the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley on top of triumphs in the Bundesliga and German Cup, the 30-year-old added: "It was an extraordinary year for us, we'd wanted that trophy for so long and to play at Wembley was fantastic. I think Bayern deserved to win the cup after such a long time."
Messi congratulated Ribéry on his award and declared him a worthy winner when he said: "It was an honour to be in this race again, and among the best three players in Europe [...] He deserved to win the trophy."
The trio of Messi, Ribéry and Ronaldo had formed the shortlist after their selection by a poll of journalists from each of UEFA's member national associations. Fifty-two of the 53 journalists chosen to participate by the European Sports Media association were present, with the vote from the journalist representing Lithuania cast by email to the independent auditors, Ernst & Young.