As you presumably already know, Lionel Messi has been awarded the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or award in a ceremony in Zurich. After much fanfare, and terrible music, Messi became the first non-World Cup winning player to win the award in the aftermath of the World Cup since 1994. While many were calling for Xavi, I believed Messi to be the most worthy candidate, though this is not to overlook the vast accomplishments of Xavi or Iniesta. It’s just that, well, Messi is right now going through what may very well be called the greatest stretch of play that we have ever witnessed. He is, without a doubt, the most “complete” player living, as Sid Lowe might say. And as unfair as it may be, forwards are always going to be prized more than midfielders for these awards.
You could not go wrong with any of the 3, but most certainly not the young man, did you forget he’s only 23, who scored 34 goals in La Liga last year, winning the Pichchi, and then taking home the European Golden Boot. Oh yes, he’s scored 42 goals in 2010 in La Liga (the most) and recorded 15 assists (also the most). This year Messi won La Liga, a Supercopa of Spain, the two above awards, and was also named to the FIFPro World XI for the 4th time. I would recite everything, but it’s pointless, really. He’s the best player who is active now by a wide margin and statistics or no, it’s hard to argue.
Moving on to Xavi and Iniesta, it may be that we never hand them the individual awards for FIFA Ballon d’Or, but the 2010 World Cup should always be remembered as Xavi and Iniesta’s World Cup. Their genius is widely known, though certainly not wide enough. Without Xavi, the team would be a shell of what it is, it wouldn’t compete in a lot of respects. And without Iniesta, well, we’d be short a few trophies, and Spain might be short a nice little golden statue. If they are never fully recognized, which they probably will not be, then it will be slightly sad, until we remember the unmitigated mastery they have shown for the past few years.
The FIFPro World XI was also announced, and it was heavily FC Barcelona: Casillas, Maicon, Pique, Puyol, Lucio, Iniesta, Sneijder, Xavi, Messi, Villa, Ronaldo.
Here is a tribute video from YouTube showing the 3 finalists in STUNNING HD.