Barcelona star Lionel Messi has been awarded with the Creu de Sant Jordi award which is the St. George's Cross in a ceremony held on Thursday, May 16.

The award recognizes individuals and institutions who have served Catalonia and the protection of the region's identity.

According to Barca Blaugranes, 28 individuals and 15 organisations are handed the award every year for outstanding services to the region.

The Argentina international received the award directly from Catalonia president Torra and was described as the greatest footballer of all time.

Messi is however not the first player to win the award as late Dutch great Cruyff who starred for Barcelona as both a player from 1973-78 and coach between 1988-96 was among the individual recipients in 2006.

Lionel Messi led not just La Liga's goal-scoring charts, but also the European Golden Boot and the Champions League top scorers' list as well.

Last season in the Champions League, Lionel Messi scored 12 goals for Barcelona and he also provided three assists with 34 goals in La Liga.

He has an incredible 48 goals in 46 games in all competitions for Barcelona who are now the Spanish champions.

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