It was, essentially, a day to celebrate excellence, a day in which there wasn’t a whole lot to say except “Duh.”
So Lionel Messi, in a result that should have surprised no one, won the FIFA Ballon d’Or this year, beating out one Thong Boy. I won’t get into what the Ballon really celebrates, or that I think Xavi should have won last year, and been in it with much more of a shout than a distant third place this year. Because as we know, this award celebrates goals.
Not only was it a day of honor for Messi, but Pep Guardiola won coach of the year, beating out Mou Mou and Sir. In the proof that the dude is all class, all the time, here are some of his remarks:
“I would like to dedicate this award to the thousands of people who have worked at Barca in the last 100 years and have helped build one of the best teams in the world. It is an honor for me to be part of the group which has built this incredible team. From the bottom of my heart I would like to dedicate this title to Tito Vilanova, my friend, companion, assistant, who is always there, even though he has not been with us that much lately.
“Tito, this one is for you.”
And if that wasn’t enough, in the Fifa World XI, we had 5, more than any other club in the world: Mr. Shakira, Ears, Ghostface, Maestro and La Pulga — Pique, Alves, Iniesta, Xavi and Messi. Others noted the class, style and genuine affection that Messi and Xavi have for each other, but this is as it should be. It’s just one more thing that, no matter what people say about the motto or what motives they erroneously ascribe to the derivation thereof, it really is mes que un club. It’s a family, one rooted in excellence and the pursuit of a single goal: silver.
Ultimately, I’m not at all sure what accolades do to our club. Do they make the players hungrier for more. Has is really been that long since the two trophyless seasons that ushered in the Guardiola Era? Do players forget that life isn’t always tickertape parades before hundreds of thousands of screaming Catalans? Good questions, all, and something to contemplate. We can also natter away about who voted for who and why. Did Casillas vote for Thong Boy and Nemo because he honestly felt that they were the two best players in the world, or because that’s just what captains do? Who would Puyol have voted for, were the positions reversed? In what was almost certainly going to be a landslide, why not vote for team harmony. After all, everyone knows better now, don’t they?
But for now, I leave you with the guy who almost certainly had more fun than anybody else in our traveling party: