Barcelona striker Lionel Messi dismissed media criticism of his second successive World Player of the Year award, in an interview published on Wednesday.
Messi, who won the Ballon d'Or on January 10 for the second straight year, had been expected to lose out to one of Spanish World Cup stars Andres Iniesta or Xavi after he endured a modest World Cup for Argentina.
"The truth is I don't care what the media say. What matters to me is what my teammates say, the people who are with me. I thank them for their support," the Argentine said in an interview with sports news site goal.com.
Two days after winning the Ballon d'Or, Messi hit a hat-trick in Barcelona's 5-0 rout of Real Betis.
Asked if the performance vindicated his award, he said: "I don't have to vindicate myself to anyone. I did the same thing I have been doing up to now; I will try to carry on playing good matches and will try to help my team as much as I can."