Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi remain two of the most recognizable athletes in all of sports. Thanks to continued success on the pitch and loads of fame away from the playing fields, the international superstars continue to make headlines while conjuring up discussion as to who the best soccer player in the world truly is. Though Leo Messi - a superb 26-year-old who has dominated in the Spanish Primera League with Barcelona - has been forced to battle injury over the past few seasons, his accolades on multiple levels have, for the most part, positioned him as the top player in the sport.

The Argentine star may garner loads of attention but because of the intense style of play of his Real Madrid rival, 28-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo is not far behind Messi. Guiding Madrid to a second place finish in the 2012-2013 La Liga season as well as a place in the UEFA Champions League, CR7 proved once again that he belongs in the top flight with his La Liga rival. Recent history has seen Leo Messi garner the significant season-ending league awards but with Ronaldo performing at such a high level at the Bernabeu, the recent awards ceremony saw two of the game's best receive great honor.

Continuing his dominant streak of high accolades, Lionel Messi was named the 'Best Player' and 'Best Forward' for the fifth-consecutive year. The awards, which were handed out nearly six months after the 2012-2013 La Liga season, are held to honor those who achieved the highest honors and highest plateaus in the uber-competitive division. Registering 46 goals and 12 assists in 28 La Liga appearances last season, Messi was an easy choice for the aforementioned awards as he led Barca to the franchises 22nd league crown. Though he continues to battle muscle injuries this season, the four-time Ballon d'Or Award winner was very gracious to receive these honors once again.

"I would like to thank the LFP and the Liga BBVA for this prize," Messi said. "It is a recognition of the Barca players' work all year and without them I would not have scored these goals."

Inventing the 'Most Valuable Player' award for the first time, those involved with the creation of the ceremony felt it was absolutely necessary to honor both Messi and Ronaldo since each player brings a significant level of talent to the league. Extremely pleased to earn the MVP award, Ronaldo thanked his teammates and club but did make a point to note that he will be aiming to win the overall award for best player this time around.

"It is an honor and privilege to receive this great award for the Most Valuable Player, it motivates me to keep working harder," Ronaldo said. "I am proud to be in the Liga BBVA. For me, this is the best league in the world and I am at the best club in the world. How could I not be happy? Hopefully next year I can win the award for the best player. I will be working towards it."


Best Player - Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Most Valuable Player - Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid

Best Forward - Lionel Messi, Barcelona

Best Goalkeeper - Thibaut Courtois, Atletico Madrid

Best Defender - Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid

Best Midfielder - Asier Illarramendi, Real Sociedad

Best Attacking Midfielder - Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona

Breakthrough Player - Asier Illarramendi, Real Sociedad

Best Coach - Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid