Lionel Messi – 2010 Ballon d’Or Winner

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.

DISCUSS!

Here is a tribute video from YouTube showing the 3 finalists in STUNNING HD.

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190 Comments

  1. January 11, 2011

    the issues i have with Messi winning are the following:

    1) Messi’s undoubted on-pitch genius has already been recognized and at the pace he’s going, shall be again and again. in fact, being 23 only leaves him with plenty of years to scoop as many individual awards as possible.

    Whereas, Xavi (and less Iniesta, and because i wanted Xavi i’ll mostly refer to him) is hardly ever in the spotlight. and his very own undoubted genius had not been hailed to the degree it deserves. not worldwide, anyway.

    Also, Xavi is 30. 31 in about a couple of weeks and by 2010 he had won almost everything a footballer could win (doubt he was ever that keen on the UEFA Cup), so this individual award would have crowned the perfect trajectory.

    2) usually, almost traditionally, in a WC year, the WC performance overshadows the club performance, and while no-one would ever dare say Messi did not have a stellar club season, so did Xavi and at WC level, Xavi definitely overtakes Messi.

    so…this leaves the most bitter taste for the 2006 Ballon D’Or…when had it not been WC winner Cannavaro swiping it, Barca could’ve had another one through Ronaldinho.

    3) stepping out of the box and going for the less glam but more effective option would’ve been nice for this inaugural edition of Fifa Ballon D’Or.

    personally, while i’m glad for Messi and all of the above does not mean and should not suggest i think he does not deserve it, i cannot help but feel a little disappointed that the one person that deserved it MOST, lost it.

    • Jnice
      January 11, 2011

      When Cannavaro won it instead of Ronaldinho in 2006, I was pissed for ages.

      • Josep
        January 11, 2011

        I forgot where I read it but someone was saying this except stating that Cannavaro played in Serie B that year (I thought he did in 07?) and that THIERRY HENRY deserved it. For failing to win the EPL, and runner up in WC and CL 😀

  2. messi_fan
    January 11, 2011

    Like Euler said, it would be interesting to see the criteria that were given. Each of us has his/her own idea as to what qualities the winner should possess, and depending on those criteria, each of the candidates could’ve won.

    But if you give a lot of weight to the World Cup, you could make a case for either Xavi or Iniesta. And I think that hurt both their chances. It would’ve been interesting to see what would’ve happened if for instance, voters only had Iniesta and Messi to choose between.

  3. jaymin
    January 11, 2011

    Messi will win it 4 more times. Because he deserves it. Iniesta and Xavi and Salieris in the court of Mozart. They deserve pudding. Which is what they get when faced against Messi. The person who deserved it most, got it. He will get it. If you could have only one go to war for you, Xavi or Messi, shit, it’s not at all a question is it?
    Messi is a God touched being; Iniesta and Xavi are very talented footballers.

  4. Jnice
    January 11, 2011

    A few words from Xavi and Iniesta on Busquets:

    Xavi: For example, Sergio (Busquets) is under-appreciated. And Del Bosque knew that, because he likes that kind of football. Busquets doesn’t win races, he almost never scores, he doesn’t do stepovers… but he’s fantastic! Busquets is one of those who does everything. He’s a hard worker and has class. It doesn’t matter if he’s being marked, he gets you the ball, and you think, “how did he see me? It’s impossible!”

    Iniesta: A lot of times Busi plays so fast that I can’t believe he saw the play.

    http://conlaroja.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/deserved-winners/

    Full interview here (it’s really good) : *http://www.elpais.com/articulo/deportes/mejor/mundo/Leo/hay/color/elpepidep/20110111elpepidep_4/Tes

    Busquets really does play the ball fast and finds that little gap to give Xavi or Iniesta the ball.

    Not gonna lie, The Yaya is one of my all-time favs, but Busquets is a better defensive midfielder no question.

    • Jnice
      January 11, 2011

      Forgot to add that as an all-around player, I would give the nod to Yaya, but as a DM, it restricts his natural tendencies to push forward and that isn’t his natural position.

    • blitzen
      January 11, 2011

      It really is a great interview. Xavi is at pains to point out that this would have been a victory for the Barcelona system no matter who won, and that although Leo always had the talent in him to be the best, Pep has had a lot to do with bringing that out.

      I think they should follow Xavi’s suggestion and hand out three smaller awards. 🙂

  5. K_legit
    January 11, 2011

    By definition this award is for the Best Player on the Planet and I find it hard to not look past Lio Messi
    He is, without a shadow of doubt, the very BEST existing now and hence deserves the award.

    But I do nurse an itch for Xavi not winning it..it would have made me mad with pride if he had.

  6. vicsoc
    January 11, 2011

    On a different note, we seem to be losing youth forwards at an alarming rate, with Ruben Rochina, who is 19, supposedly on his way to Blackburn and Mauro Icardi (17) definitely on his way to Sampdoria.

    via barcastuff

    • Jnice
      January 11, 2011

      Like I said yesterday, it seems we don’t do well in the area of promoting young strikers. It rarely seems to work out. Shame about Mauro, from what I’ve read and the little clips I’ve seen, he looked like he had promise.

      The Rochina one I feel is more rumor than fact because it comes from England, but from what I’ve seen of Rochina this year, I haven’t been impressed.

    • January 11, 2011

      All I can surmise with the forwards is that they were never going to be first-team quality. As with Assulin, who has vanished without a trace. Note the absence of “Barca was crazy, this dude is amazing” stories.

      • vicsoc
        January 11, 2011

        I agree, but I think it’s a bit worrying that we seem unable to produce many stellar forwards, even as we are currently churning out defenders and on a smaller scale midfielders.

      • Ryan
        January 11, 2011

        Smaller scale midfielders is where it’s at!

      • blitzen
        January 11, 2011

        Visca Barca midgets!

    • soccermomof4
      January 11, 2011

      Spaniards not Spaniard’s

  7. blitzen
    January 11, 2011

    Someone needs to ask Mascherano what happened to his votes, btw….

    • Josep
      January 11, 2011

      He, assumedly joking, a couple weeks back said he never received a ballot.

      Maybe its true??

      • blitzen
        January 11, 2011

        Maybe they sent it to Liverpool and they “forgot” to forward it? 😛

  8. Josep
    January 11, 2011

    “papademac (1/10/2011 at 5:55 PM) Report Violation you are correct Messi scored one goal via the head in the CL like 4 years ago. my bad. you are right he did score the most goals in the CL last year during the patsy games like versus Sporting of Lisbon. my bad. during the game that counted most. hey Messsssssiiiiiii where you at? you are right Messi scored a goal in a free kick in 2011, not 2010 but hey whos counting. I thought this fifa mvp was for 2010. but I know you barsa lunies and fifa. ‘aint counting when he scores. you right I am not informed about English soccer and how the little 5.5 plug nickel would be on the floor in the cold grass of the EPL. i mean admit it, come now, Messi gets favorite treatment from the other spanish teams like when they play the B. squad. Messi and the rest of the barsas get to run around and no tackling. you think they get that kind of treatment in PL? you guys need to see the 5-0 win for what it is: a real madrid team with 3 spanish players that love the 8 barsa buddies more than they love own real team. did you see one, anyone barsa dude get tackled hard in the game? give me one name? 5-to zero exposed xabi and ramos and casillas as barsa lovers. spanish people hate real beause its full of foreigners. real players are afraid to go hard against the all world barsas. but here are the facts: real wins this cl and the league and the copa will you loonies ask for my forgiveness? barsa wins all 3 ill be on record to call them the greatest team in 2011. not ever.”

    LOL these comments on soccernet are amazing.

  9. January 11, 2011

    As an aside, made a visit to ArsenalLand, and just wondering if anyone is still sorry that we didn’t get Arshavin? He seems to have fallen on very hard times there. Even the Gunners fans were booing him, apparently. Lazy and out of shape are terms being bandied about. Wow.

    • blitzen
      January 11, 2011

      He is also quite the sexist and not nearly as funny as he thinks he is. So no, I’m not in the slightest sorry.

    • January 11, 2011

      Never been a fan of him.

  10. blitzen
    January 11, 2011

    Official: Ronaldinho going to Flamengo:

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/584/brazil/2011/01/11/2299578/official-ronaldinho-joins-flamengo

    It’s amazing to me that he is still only 30 years old. The way he trains and plays now you would swear he was 35 at least. He still has flashes of genius and the odd game where he looks like the Ronaldinho of old, but physically he went downhill pretty fast. Then again, he was never in exactly what I would consider peak physical condition.

    • Josep
      January 11, 2011

      Speaking of Ronaldinho heres what I’m curious about

      Is there any documentary talking about Ronaldinho/TB?

      I mean like I watched the documentary on La Porta’s presidential campaign but I want one about Ronaldinho. like, when he left Gremio how was he rated? I’m assuming he blew up while at PSG. Or Ronaldo was found when at Sporting when they faced United.. how did people rate him back then?

      Know what I mean? I’d love to hear or see something about these things. If I recall, Ronaldinho wasn’t too great at the world cup 06… but did well at 02? If anyone knows knowledge drop it on me 😀

      • January 11, 2011

        Ronaldinho shows what happens when you rely on talent and don’t take care of the temple. What makes great players is as much greatness over an extended time period as temporary greatness. I shudder to think of what Ronaldinho would have been like had he had, say, Puyol’s work ethic. Maintenance (and boy, do I know this) is as much a part of being a world-class athlete as match performance.

        People often comment on our low major injury rates. I think that the whole-istic approach that the club’s medical staff takes (preventive maintenance, diet, stretching, player-specific workouts) also helps control that as much as it can be controlled.

        Sad about Ronaldinho. At 30, he should still have a few years left at the top flight.

      • blitzen
        January 11, 2011

        Just reading his Wiki page I came across this factoid:

        His first brush with the media came at the age of thirteen, when he scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team.

        Wow.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronaldinho

      • Jnice
        January 11, 2011

        Ronaldinho was rated highly when he left Gremio for PSG. He did extremely well in the 1999 Copa America and scored a goal against Venezuela that had everyone talking about him as the next big thing to come out of Brazil.

        He left Gremio in kind of a bad way because he let his contract run out and tried to go there on a free. They signed him sort of, but then FIFA later ordered them to pay compensation to Gremio. He did well for PSG, but the manager Luis Fernandez hated his attitude and his penchant for the Paris night life. If you look at clips of him at PSG, you could see it was almost too easy for him at times.

        I didn’t really know about him until 2002 WC because I was 13 and didn’t watch a lot of French football , but he was immediately my favorite player.

        There are like mini documentaries on YouTube of Ronaldinho and the only like full length one is a documentary of him at his home in Barcelona with his mother, sister, and friends talking about his family and his career. It’s pretty good, though.

      • Josep
        January 11, 2011

        Ah thats interesting, just weird that of all clubs he signed with PSG, I don’t think they’ve won silverware in a while? Maybe a french cup I’m not aware of. That goal vs. Venezuela I think I know which one, where it defied physics right? Amazing. I seen one small documentary with him playing futsal, he still looks the same. And about him leaving Gremio on a free, its what some MLS players do. Look at Stuart Holden he ran down his contract because EPL was more willing to take a risk on him on a free then paying a transfer. But with Ronaldinho’s talent its weird.

        Imagine had we signed Beckham, or even more so imagine if UNITED signed Dinho. They wouldn’t have signed CR7..hmm one wonders. Thanks 🙂

    • K_legit
      January 11, 2011

      amazing how his valuation is just 3 mill euros now!

    • Eklavya
      January 11, 2011

      You know I believe Ronaldinho’s age isn’t 30, but actually older than that, although the official papers say he’s 30.

  11. Bafanalapagus
    January 11, 2011

    Against the current thread I’d like to add that I’ve read where many have been “upset” by the thinking in the football community that only attacking players can be considered the world’s best. I never have felt that way, but I would offer up this…Football does not award a “point” to a team for stopping a goal. A team is not the winner because they “stopped” 10 potential scores to another team’s 8 potential scores. Foot ball doesn’t work that way.
    The object of the game of Football is to put the ball in the net. If you’re a player that scored 60 goals for your team, and you also assisted in the scoring of another 22 goals for your team…well, I think that makes you pretty successful at your job. Probably the best in fact at doing what it is that makes one team win over another.
    If Football worked the other way around, and a defensive player was given a “point” for preventing a sure goal – Goalies are given saves! – then yeah, add all those up and maybe we can say that player is the best in the world. But until that way of keeping track of things becomes the norm in Football – it never will – then I’ll guess we’ll just have to accept that some little guy who is able to accomplish better than anyone the objective of the game of Football – ball in net – is the best player in the world.
    While defense can “win games”, and defenders and keepers should never ever be taken for granted, I personally would rather have the best attacker on my team, than the best defender. In baseball however…I’d rather have the best pitcher.

    • blitzen
      January 11, 2011

      Well, for the sake of argument, I will point out that you can have the best attacker in the world on your team, but if your defense is lousy and lets through your opponent’s mediocre attackers, they will still probably score more goals than you will. Keeping the ball out of your net–or keeping possession of the ball–are just as important as scoring.

      In fact, they are more important. If you concede a goal you may lose. But if you do not concede a goal you may still gain a point. So defense is better than offense. /Mourinho

      😀

    • Tom_Johnson
      January 11, 2011

      “then I’ll guess we’ll just have to accept that some little guy who is able to accomplish better than anyone the objective of the game of Football – ball in net – is the best player in the world.”

      As shocking as it may sound but the people who had voted are not, in fact, a bunch of teenage Asian girls.

      The voters in question are professional players and coaches. People who, it is safe to say, have spent substantial time competing at the highest level.

      Taking into an account this unquestionable expertise and the pattern (of winners) stretching over decades now, one should draw no other conclusion than that to defend is less complex than to attack.

      To react is less complex than to act. To destroy is easier than to create.

      Even more so these days when the athleticism of players and crowd’s thirst for “blood” has gone up while the pitch (space) remains the same. The trend that favors the “defensive approach” and allowed clowns and mediocre people (one of Portugese descent in particular) to receive the undeserving amount of attention.

  12. Eklavya
    January 11, 2011

    Puyol was voted 5 times as n°1 candidate for Ballon d’Or! Wow! 😀

    • Bafanalapagus
      January 11, 2011

      That is very cool. Did not know that. Those folk see things 180 degrees from me.
      I love differences of opinion, and I am open to my mind being changed.
      Thanks!

  13. Lev
    January 11, 2011

    The reason attacking players are usually rewarded with the individual awards is that they are more talented footballers than defenders.

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