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.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Recent Posts

Written by:

We calls 'em likes we sees 'em.

190 Comments

  1. January 10, 2011

    # Iniesta: “i want to congratulate Messi, he deserves it. I’m not disappointed, it’s an award to be here.” #fcblive #ballondor 5 minutes ago via TweetDeck

    # Xavi: “It’s an award for the academy and the philosophy of Barça. I congratulate Leo, he’s simply the best.” #fcblive #ballondor

    – Via Barcastuff

    As usual, pure class.

    These are two legendary players. They will not be forgotten in any way nor will not receiving the award take away from what they’ve done.

    Messi winning this award will always be connected to the larger story of all three players from La Masia being nominated.

  2. BTTFCule
    January 10, 2011

    I wanted Xavi to win it. But happy for Messi and I think this time FIFA got it right. They handed the trophy to the best player rather than the most successful player.

  3. jordi™
    January 10, 2011

    I think Leo will retire with the record number of wins.Next year when he wins again the madridistas and ronaldo fanbois will be butthurt so that will be extra pleasing.I think he wins 4 or 5 if he doesn’t get injured.Its scary really.

  4. Kari
    January 10, 2011

    Oh yes, he’s scored 42 goals in 2010 in La Liga (the most)

    Ahem. It’s 47 goals, not 42. Thong Boy was the one who got 42.

    • Helge
      January 10, 2011

      There’s a difference between goals scored in la Liga in 2010 and goals scored in all competitions of the season 09/10 😉

      • Kari
        January 10, 2011

        You, quiet with your logic and fancy reading skills!

        I want the opportunity to test Luke’s confidence in his work (or something).

      • Eklavya
        January 10, 2011

        I knew someone would fall for it! 😀

  5. Helge
    January 10, 2011

    I love the idea of the World Cup trophy being Xaviniesta’s price for a brilliant year, and Messi taking Ballon D’Or as a sort of consolation prize.
    Messi also said in the pre-interview that he certainly prefers to win the WC over any individual award, and I’m sure everybody agrees here. So let Messi get his 2nd Ballon D’Or (1 more than Crynaldo!) and Xaviniesta will always be remembered as the godfathers of Spain’s FIRST World Cup title in history. Not a bad deal for all of them, imo!

  6. Bafanalapagus
    January 10, 2011

    I do believe “they” got it right. I admire the poise and talents and sportsmanship of all 3 of them – perhaps the best tribute to La Masia – but Lionel Messi is simply a notch above everyone. He is the most charismatic player I’ve ever seen because it’s almost a certainty he will make one, if not more, miraculous play a game. He has done things with the ball and attempted things with the ball that are re-writing how the game is played.
    Xavi and Iniesta are special and will never be forgotten…but Lionel Messi is some sort of genius.

    Small quibble about the broadcast…horrible highlights. Really terrible. Every day on youtube I see better highlight compilations put together by fans of Xavi, Messi, and Iniesta’s. Where was Messi’s amazing goal against Zaragoza, 21.03.2010 for example? If you’ve got the best players in the world, show them doing what has made them the best.

    Congrats to all Barca today. Way to go Leo…you deserve it.

    • Eklavya
      January 10, 2011

      The “official” highlights have always been terrible. They change angles way too many times.

      The only one I liked what the one with Puyol running and then the image freezing the his name coming out!

      • Bafanalapagus
        January 10, 2011

        Agree. I didn’t want to be the old man complaining about the quick editing and razza-ma-taz angles but it’s dumb. A good editor knows to let the action speaks for itself and when you’ve got all those beautiful plays…just let them play out. Don’t gussy it all up. Hate that. It become about the editor and not the images. Shame on whoever they got to edit the broadcast. Ugh.
        And while I’m bagging on technical stuff…I really wish espn would not show so many replays of something while the game is still progressing! There should be a FIFA rule that says – especially! – no replays in the last 10 minutes of a tight game. How many times have you wanted to kick the TV in because they’re showing a dumb replay while the teams are still battling with minutes to go. It’s a crime!

  7. January 10, 2011

    Lionel Messi scored most goals (42), made most assists (15) and completed most dribbles (166) in the Liga in 2010 #ballondor [via @OptaJose]

    -Via Barcastuff.

    It’s just ridiculous. Most goals and most assists in one of the major leagues in the world. How many times has that been done in history.

  8. Kari
    January 10, 2011

    Oh, and this was Hectored:

    Miguel called it; he said that Xaviniesta would split the votes and Messi would win. Miguel the Octopus? 😛

    I’ve said this before, but the greatest recognition for Xavi is that he was such a favourite. You can add Iniesta as well. The both of them were so underrated and they still are, albiet less so than before.

    In the end, the best player in the world actually won (on their ability, not their trophies). I leave you with a quote from Pique which sums it about quite well (via barcastuff)

    Pique: “People have valued the <individual performances and it’s clear Messi is better than the rest. A deserved reward

    • Miguel
      January 10, 2011

      Miguel the octopus, i love it!

      as much as i hate telling people, “i told you so(oh, wait. i don’t mind that at all)” i was.

  9. Eklavya
    January 10, 2011

    Best moments:

    -Messi’s expression when the 3 holograms of Messi, Xavi and Iniesta were playing with one ball. Xavi and Iniesta were smiling but Messi was just L.O.L!

    -Pep giving out the award. Freaking awesome!

    -Pep opening the letter the wrong way. Hilairious!

    -Messi winning the Ballon d’Or.

    -The dude singing/playing piano/violin whatever. Words fail me for that.

    • Kari
      January 10, 2011

      -Messi’s reaction when his name was called.

      (And yeah, his face when those holograms were showed. Iniesta and Xavi were like ‘Yeah, that’s nice’. Messi’s all like “OMG. Mom did you see that?! This is so cool! Holy crap!’)

      • Miguel
        January 10, 2011

        messi thought it was the sneak peek @fifa or pes 2012.

        • Eklavya
          January 10, 2011

          Hahaha Mom?! Exactly!

          AND HOW COULD I FORGET! The freaking ridiculous/hilairious accent of the dude calling out the names!
          “Leoineal Measee”

          • MoSSi
            January 10, 2011

            Damn I missed that part when Messi was LOL.. Any video’s?

    • Helge
      January 10, 2011

      Any video of Messi’s face when he saw the holograms?
      I’ve missed the majority of the award ceremony :/

      • blitzen
        January 10, 2011

        Fifa.com will have a video of the whole thing up shortly, if it isn’t already.

      • Diego
        January 10, 2011

        Majority ?

        I missed the whole thing 😀

    • blitzen
      January 10, 2011

      -CRonaldo trying to look bored but only looking queasy.

      -Del Bosque looking so proud at the highlights of the Spanish NT

      -6 of the Team of the Year coming from Barca!

  10. soccermomof4
    January 10, 2011

    Hi all,
    I just got back from an emergency trip to the vet. Beagle got into a box of raisins ( very toxic for dogs ($170 vet bill= most expensive box of raisins I ever bought)). SSSSSOOOOOO I missed the whole presentation. Please, does anyone have I link so I can watch it (Jnice!?!)?

    Sad for Xavi, not so much for Iniesta because as much as I love our tiny vampire, I don’t think he deserved it as much as the other two because of missing so much of last season. Messi so deserved this!!!!! No, Xaviesta will never get the recognition of the world that they truly deserve. However, we cules know how priceless they are.

  11. Louis
    January 10, 2011

    Is this just me? The more and more I see Xavi’s El Clasico goal, the more I think he controlled the ball exactly as he wanted and that backheel over his head was no fluke at all.

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Thought so too even though all the announcers were going on about that “bit of luck”.

  12. NeverEver
    January 10, 2011

    so go check the official barca website before they realize they made a boo boo and take it down.

    They were SO POSITIVE that xavi/iniesta was going to win that they pre wrote the article. then they had to go back and change all the names when Messi won but they missed one. HAHA

    it reads

    “Iniesta/Xavi became the first player to lift the new trophy after the Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Player Award were combined and is the seventh Barça player to take the Ballon, with Johan Cruyff the only man to win for the Club it on two separate occasions.”

    let me know if you want a screen shot, I’ve got it saved for posterity 😛

    • BTTFCule
      January 10, 2011

      LOL. BS.com’s live report said something about a spanish radio announcing Xavi as winner! May be they went by the Magazine report which suggested XavinestMessi as finalists 🙂

  13. Miguel
    January 10, 2011

    atletico is getting an ass whooping handed to them by hercules, a la the one they gave barca, right now ;^)

    great nelson valdez goal.

    • Helge
      January 10, 2011

      They’ll get an even harder one by Real on Thursday, don’t you think so?

      • Miguel
        January 10, 2011

        i don’t know, they”re no hercules!

        Miguel el pulpo will have an official prediction later this afternoon. his handler has to prepare his meal of fish heads first.

    • lovelymofo
      January 10, 2011

      Woah, its already 3-0. Crazy.

      • Miguel
        January 10, 2011

        it doesn’t look to end there either, sadly, for atleti.

        nice goal by thomert.

  14. jnelson
    January 10, 2011

    I am so disappointed I missed the presentation. I too, think they “got it right”. People were talking about how Xavi should win it because he probably won’t have another chance, unless he is still a starter with Barca and leads Spain to WC 2014 victory. Even then, there is a high chance of it going to someone else. With Messi winning this year, with no WC trophy, amidst Spain’s dominance, I am convinced Messi can win this award EVERY year with just a few (ok, moderately difficult lol) things: La Liga Silverware, deep progress into the Champs League, and of course his incredible goal scoring form (which would require him to keep being healthy). In other words, as long as we have Pep, Messi’s the favorite. I do believe though that had the Balon D’Or been separate from the FIFA World Player of the Year, we would have seen different results. I think the Balon D’Or favored Messi heavily, but FIFA coaches and captains most probably leaned toward Xavi/Iniesta, and probably enough that even splitting votes, one of the two would have taken it over Leo.

  15. January 10, 2011

    Weird that Leo didnt hug Xavi, Andres or Pep before accepting. But it was cool that he almost choked up when thanking Argentina at the end. You can tell the kid loves his country.

  16. Diego
    January 10, 2011

    To Answer the Haters Questions :

    Messi has been the BEST INDIVIDUAL PLAYER LAST YEAR. If you think someone else is, tell me who ?

    Goal.com has a brilliant and fascinating article about how T.B is the more complete player, They compared things like Leadership, and Physique 😀 They said Cris has better body balance and fitness ! Messi can actually hold off challenges and not fall.

    John Terry would turn out the more complete player than Cris by this comparison, He is a better Header, Leader, and Toughness. 😀

    • BTTFCule
      January 11, 2011

      No offense but you forgot to mention the most important asset of John Terry 🙂

  17. lovelymofo
    January 10, 2011

    I have no doubt that Messi is the best player in the world, but I still was hoping Iniesta or Xavi would get it. Players don’t get these awards based solely on their ability most years, which is why everyone thought a Spanish player would get it. Or at least hoped.

  18. Bafanalapagus
    January 10, 2011

    Currently living in Buenos Aires, and it so upsets me when I’m told – far too many times – that because Leo never played here, they don’t really accept him. Makes me so furious. Why not blame the club teams that didn’t want to, or couldn’t, pony up the dough to help Leo with his growth problems? It’s absurd that they want to blame Leo for not playing in the Argentinian league, when it wasn’t his fault. La Masia came to his rescue and thank god they did.
    I wonder if the papers here will give Leo front page story with a big picture, or relegate him to the upper right hand corner. Unbelievable. They still genuflect to Maradona here, but Leo has to win 2 World Cups before they’ll accept him. And gee, I wonder if they realize it was their beloved incompetent coach Maradona that lost the Germany WC game…not Leo and the players.
    But I digress…
    I actually popped on again to ask if anyone has stats for Leo’s games against Premier League teams? As in how many games played, victories, goals scored, etc. I ask because every now and then I’ll go on to other sports sites – but I never join in…too many horrible and nasty people -and there’s always some jackass saying leo could never play in the Premiere League blah blah blah. So I’d love to find out how he’s fared against those premiere league teams in Champions league games.
    Sorry for the length. Thanks everyone.

    • Diego
      January 10, 2011

      He scored 4 against Arsenal and 1 against Manchester and one Assist against Chelsea.

      • Bafanalapagus
        January 10, 2011

        Thanks. I do remember those games, but he’s probably played premiere league teams 20 – 30 times over the years, right? I wonder how I can find out his complete record against english club teams. Put an end to the discussion about him not being able to “make it” in the premiere league.

        • Diego
          January 10, 2011

          He didn’t assist or score against Mourinho back in Chelsea but he played great till Del Horno Injured him.

          Man.U in 07/08 was 0-0 and 0-1.

          Plus back then he was still a teenager. Just look at his stats in the last two years.

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Don’t know the actual stats, but he obviously has no trouble against Man Utd. or Arsenal.

      • soccermomof4
        January 10, 2011

        Forgot the assist against Chelsea to San Andres.

      • mei
        January 10, 2011

        well yeah but stoke and and wolves are the tough ones.

        • soccermomof4
          January 10, 2011

          Sorry, I keep on forgetting that Messi isn’t good enough for Stoke! 😉

          • ooga aga
            January 10, 2011

            he’ll pad those stats come febrero

  19. Josep
    January 10, 2011

    I read this
    “Interesting: If only France Football votes had been counted, the order would have been 1. Sneijder 2. Iniesta 3. Xavi 4. Messi”

    Anyone know anything about this?

    Also, HerCULES are destroying Atl. Mad. right now.

    • Bafanalapagus
      January 10, 2011

      I’m not a fan of the tabulation/results being given out. In any contest. Seems pointless and a kind of spoil-sporty type thing to do. We trust we’re not being lied to, a winner is chosen, so why do we need to know he only won by 35 votes or she won by 30000 votes? Just angers up the blood and can provoke fisticuffs in even the most polite societies.

  20. Nik
    January 10, 2011

    Someone called this in the last thread:

    Mourinho (coach Madrid): “Messi, Xavi and Iniesta are from another world, but I prefer Sneijder, Cristiano and Milito. Feel sorry for Xavi.” -@barcastuff

    Ah, Mou. You never stop making me laugh.

    • Tom_Johnson
      January 10, 2011

      I wonder what are his feelings about Sneijder (one of the two best players in a triple-crown winning team and World Cup finalist) and Ronaldo not even making Top 3.

    • Diego
      January 10, 2011

      As Usual .. We Understand nothing but we Laugh Anyway.

    • Ryan
      January 10, 2011

      Pep: “You guys are a pain! I already told you guys the other day -Leo’s so good that I’ve run out of adjectives to describe him…now there’s only one more way to define him… by singing”

      By the way, the song is a parody of a soccer anime that was really popular in Spain – Oliver y Benji.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy3R7Dm3M8c

  21. Eklavya
    January 10, 2011

    Can someone post wjo voted for who, my mobile doesn’t accept PDFs :\

    • Kari
      January 10, 2011

      Which ones do you want specifically? Or do you want the whole thing posted? (If it’s the latter, that may take a while…)

  22. BA
    January 10, 2011

    we have 3 Ballon d’Or finalists and 6 players (5 from the academy) in the FIFA World XI.

    enjoy this time.

    • jordi™
      January 10, 2011

      MVB probably voted for Robben and Sneijder.

    • Josep
      January 10, 2011

      I don’t get it about Comoros. What’s that?

      • Kari
        January 10, 2011

        You know how Spain has Casillas listed as captain? Well, Comoros (and Equatorial Guinea) have “Captain of the national team”, not the name of this supposed captain.

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Really surprised me how many times Alonso was voted for. Frankly, I thought Busi saved his bottom about a billion times during the world cup. Dude just doesn’t do it for me.

  23. jordi™
    January 10, 2011

    Umm my comment is awaiting moderation somehow, but yeah MvB probably voted for Robben and Sneijder

  24. Huckleberry
    January 10, 2011

    No votes from Argentina… Why?

  25. January 10, 2011

    I think casillas showed absolutely no class today moaning about no spaniard wining the award. How could he even complain about other voters and say that he doesn’t understand how people have voted, when he did not even include LEO in the top 3, while he did include Crynaldo?! SHAME…

      • blitzen
        January 10, 2011

        He wasn’t allowed to, the rules prohibit it.

      • Víctor
        January 10, 2011

        He can’t. Just like Mascherano couldn’t vote for an Argentinian player, players can’t vote for a co-national.

  26. Tom_Johnson
    January 10, 2011

    It has to be said again, the award is not the one for a lifetime achievement. Neither is the popularity contest. Following this simple guidelines, the outcome should surprise no one.

    The choice made 4 years ago and the “praise” it received certainly was in the back of the mind people lucky enough to be able to place the vote. FIFA, as an organization, wasn’t looking forward to “make the same mistake” from the PR stand of point.

    What I was secretly hoping for is for FIFA to use this opportunity, the first year of “merger” with the France Football, and present itself more open-minded by splitting the award among all 3 of them.

    This was as good of a moment as it’ll ever be to do something like that. 3 guys of exceptional talent yet modest demeanor preaching team-first mentality. A great example of what this game is all about. A great example for kids Worldwide.

    To put things into context quality (and contribution wise), one needs to ask itself the question what would happen if these players swap positions they are playing at.

    Would Messi be able to contribute in the way Xavi and Iniesta are? Absolutely. Would Xavi and Iniesta be able to match Messi’s output if playing his position? Less so.

    Would Spain go on to win the World Cup with Messi being in the team instead of one of these guys? Most certainly. Could the same be said for Argentina if Xavi or Iniesta were wearing blue-and-white number 10? The answer is no.

    • Ryan
      January 10, 2011

      Actually, Argentina are absolutely stacked up front and could’ve used a creative mid. I think Xavi, with Masch behind him and a front 3 of Pipita, Milito, and Aguero could have done it.

      • Tom_Johnson
        January 11, 2011

        You are missing the point. The focus is on the position the play at (forward vs midfield).

        Messi can easily match almost everything that Xavi and Iniesta are doing both for Barca and Spain.

        Xavi and Iniesta can’t match nearly as much what Messi is doing for Barca and Argentina.

        In addition, Messi not being on the field will cause bigger decline in team’s performance then what the case would be if Xavi or Iniesta are not available for selection. Both Barca and National Teams respectively.

        • Ryan
          January 11, 2011

          I would argue that Messi still lacks the ability to dictate the game’s tempo, unlike Xavi, who usually sets the pace to be the slower, more disciplined passing approach that suits Barcelona. Yes, Messi can much more capably replace Xavi’s position than the other way around, but we’re evaluating each player’s best position, right? Otherwise you might be able to say that a utility player like Adriano is better than Villa, who can’t cover as many positions.

          And Spain have clearly suffered whenever Xavi or Iniesta aren’t included (Confed’s Cup comes to mind), whereas Argentina haven’t really done much recently with or without Messi, so I’m not sure how you’re evaluating Messi’s role with the national team.

  27. Helge
    January 10, 2011

    The comment from Iker, 80% of AS.com voters think the award is undeserved for Messi… I feel Messi will get a lot of jeers during the next away matches.

      • jordi™
        January 10, 2011

        Yea I hope they do whistle him.Rival should realize by now how a happy sleepwalking Messi is better for them than an angry motivated one.I could see a stretch like the one when he scored 3 hattricks in a week coming up if they do whistle him.

    • Kari
      January 10, 2011

      Meh. EE newspaper (and not even the main of at that) doesn’t speak for the whole of Spain.

      Jeers? Don’t think so. I think Spanish fans will justifiably feel hard done by, but I don’t think they feel Messi isn’t the best player in the world.

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Depor learned the hard way what happens when you tick off Leo.

    • jordi™
      January 10, 2011

      One nice madridista from Marca said all away fans should whistle leo to “let him know!”.

      • jnelson
        January 10, 2011

        As long as they don’t resort to throwing cookies!

      • Tom_Johnson
        January 10, 2011

        That makes very little sense. He didn’t award himself or, even worse, stole it.

        Then again, this is Marca we are dealing with here.

  28. soccermomof4
    January 10, 2011

    I said a few threads back that asking which of these 3 we wanted to win this thing was akin to asking a mom which of her three children she loved the most. I wish there could have been a three way tie. But truly, the best player won.

    That being said, do we really have any idea how priveledged we are to watch these three play TOGETHER every week (gads, I sound like Ray Ray). We can beat any team on the planet (possible exception Stoke ofcourse 😉 )

  29. soccermomof4
    January 10, 2011

    As to the Spainards complaining about Messi—Del Bosque voted for Messi!

  30. Kari
    January 10, 2011

    So in the end, Xavi was always going to be third. Boo!

    If only the votes of the national team coaches would have counted: 1 Messi 2 Iniesta 3 Xavi

    If only the votes of the national team coaches would have counted: 1 Messi 2 Iniesta 3 Xavi

    If only the votes of the journalists would have counted, the ranking would have been: 1 Sneijder 2 Iniesta 3 Xavi

    -via barcastuff

    On the old format, Messi would have gotten the WPOTY anyway and Sneijder would have gotten the Ballon d’Or.

    All I say is: HA HA to Sneidjer and all the people whining he should have been nominated. For the one millionth time, Inter relied on the defense and Milito.

    • Nik
      January 10, 2011

      shrug I’m a cule, but I think Sneijder deserved to be in the three for the year that he had. He was an influential player for the treble winners(IMO at least) and the WC runner-ups.

      Is Andres more talented than Sneijder? Of course, but last season was not his best, especially considering his injuries. In fact, at the current rate he’s going, he’s going to blow last season out of the water.

      But, eh, it is what it is. The only person/people that will continue to be bothered about this are Wesley and Mou.

      • Ryan
        January 10, 2011

        Wasn’t Sneijder injured for part of the season as well though? I don’t think he played 30 league games last year.

    • Lev
      January 10, 2011

      I think Sneijder’s coach disagrees with you. Everybody who watches Inter and Serie A knows Sneijder was the one who turned the team around.

      It really sucks for him knowing that any other year he would have gotten the Ballon d’Or.

      For what it’s worth, he has handed his snub with a lot of class.

      • Kari
        January 10, 2011

        True. I probably shouldn’t have added Sneijder to the list (should have been Moaninho).

        I agree with the influence in the Serie A (I watched the Juve-Inter match where Sneijder scored a goal and Maicon had that golazo), but I’m mainly talking about the CL where many fans are making it as if Sneijder took everyone on by himself and nearly won everything singlehandedly. IMO, Lucio, Maicon, Samuel, Chivu and their midfielders like Motta and Stankovic had a greater influence than Sneijder in the CL and Milito in the league. In fact, Milito’s snub is what people should be talking about the most if they’re talking about being unfair.

        Sneijder had the most winningest year, and he’s a great player, but it’s not like he was the be all end all of Inter. None of his teammates are getting any credit (other than Milito) at all.

        The argument is that he was the sole creative hub for Inter and everyone knew and he still shone. I don’t remember Sneijder troubling us THAT MUCH in all honesty. He was pretty invisible.

        Also during the WC, I think Robben was the better player. Anyway, I’m rambling now (and there is more than a little bit of bitterness in my tone), but long comment short, I think his great season is being heavily sensationalized. Great, but not THAT great IMO.

        • barcarolle
          January 10, 2011

          1. If anyone received disproportionate attention in the wake of Milan’s victory it was Jose Mourinho, not Sneijder.

          2. Most sensible papers were very generous with their praise of the performances of Inter’s defensive players. In fact, the fact that all the press were so rightly, if a bit sycopanthically, in thrall to Mourinho meant that there was no obvious star on the pitch for them to drool over, so they tended to focus on Inter’s collective ability to carry out his instructions, e.g. Cambiasso’s excellent screening, Eto’s self-sacrifice, Lucio + Samuel’s intensity. At least, this was my impression of the coverage in the more sober British press – certainly never felt Sneijder’s contribution was over-stated, Mourinho would never let such a thing happen.

          3. Re. Milito: Given that Maicon and Lucio both featured in the Fifa Best XI, I’d say that other Inter players have been recognised, but Milito is not necessarily one of them. Bear in mind Milito was not even short-listed for the Balon D’Or after scoring Inter’s winning goal in every competition. Asamoah Gyan was.

          4. I know that no one wants to think too much on the 3-1, but Sneijder scored the first goal and (rather flukily) assisted the 3rd. As well as this he put in an excellent defensive shift in both games against us, something I did not expect of him. Also take a look at his performance at Stamford Bridge, the amount of chances he created up against a pretty tough midfield says it all about his ability (go one minute into http://vodpod.com/watch/3261453-wesley-sneijder-performance-vs-chelsea).

          I agree that his World Cup performances were not that stellar, especially in open play, but after the domestic season that he’d had I think a return of 5 goals was a fairly decent contribution in itself. Equally, Xavi was not quite the same player in the WC as he was for Barca. Only Iniesta, someone who’d had much rest in the season, seemed to have any vitality in the final throes of the tournament. I realise Sneijder will never be fashionable on this blog as an ex-Madridista disciple of Mourinho who was the lynchpin of one dour football team (Inter) and one outright cynical football team (Holland), but without Sneijder’s cutting edge it’s unlikely either team would have got as far as they did. We need not be denigrating him on such a proud day for the club.

          • Kari
            January 10, 2011

            About to go to sleep, but damn. What a first comment on the blog in my memory! Welocme.

            Alright then. I concede to barcarolle and Lev, but I ain’t gonna change my mind on the matter 😛

  31. Nik
    January 10, 2011

    A bit of a sobering article regarding the history of previous footballing greats who achieved so much at a young age: http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/blog/_/name/schaerlaeckens_leander/id/6007700/lionel-messi-crowning-achievement

    I don’t see Leo pulling a Ronaldinho and losing his focus, but I do worry for his long-term health. If he keeps this level of play up (and all indicators point to him only getting better), what’s to stop teams from piling up the brute tackles on him? I don’t trust La Liga refs at all, especially considering the Ujfalusi tackle from earlier this season.

  32. Bafanalapagus
    January 10, 2011

    To all those coaches or players and critics that don’t think Lionel Messi is the best player in the world, I say this…”You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    I will give Snejider, Ronaldo, Robben, whoever all the praise in the world because I know they’re great players, and because I’m not a biased jerk, but I will not say upon penalty of torture anything but the truth, and that is that Lionel Messi has been the best Footballer in the world the last 2 years.
    Torture me all you want…but there is no denying that none of those 3 players is as good as Lionel Messi. So stuff it Jose and Iker. Where’s your class??

  33. Lev
    January 10, 2011

    Obviously Messi is from another planet than any of those guys…Being a World Cup year Xavi might have gotten my sympathy but the truth is that if they switched positions on the football pitch Messi would be able to replace Xavi. Xavi would not come to close to replacing la pulga atomica.

    • Bafanalapagus
      January 10, 2011

      I agree, Lev. I think that’s a very fair assessment if we have to compare the two…which it seems is necessary today after poor Leo had the “misfortune” of winning. I love Xavi – he’s a remarkable footballer – but even he said 3 months ago in an article that Lionel is the best player in the world. His opinion means more to me than Jose, or Iker who clearly are just being petty. And to them I’d also like to ask them WHY they don’t think Leo is the best. I’m sure they’ll not be able to come up with a flaw in his game. They’re simply just being silly and talking out of their arses.

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Lev,
      Agreed. Messi is the one who deserves this most. It’s not a lifetime achievement award and it shouldn’t be based on one 7 game tournament. I think I’m more ticked that Xavi came in 3rd rather than 2nd (love Ghostface but he was out injured too much last year). Gotta love them all though. We root for the right team. Ah but sadly, some of us also root for the Steelers (yes, I went there!).

      • Bafanalapagus
        January 10, 2011

        Pats fan…grew up in Mass. Also a Sox, Celtics, and Bruins fan. But sure as heck do not live and die with those teams the way I do with Barca!!
        BTW I was at the 5-0 Societat game December 12th. My first time at Camp Nou. Took a pal and his son. Fantastic experience. One lucky guy to have done that.

        • soccermomof4
          January 10, 2011

          Wow, Envious (about the Sociedad game not the Patriots ofcourse) Ravens fan here. I bleed purple when I’m not bleeding blaugrana! Lev is a Steeler’s fan…so sad. 🙂

      • Lev
        January 10, 2011

        True. Messi deserves it for being the best player in the world hands down.

        Sneijder would have deserved for being the leader on the club team who won the most (@Kari, as for doing nothing in the CL he is the one who scored the first goal against us in the semis, the one that got Inter back in the tie – curse the godless b··tard – and he also gave the first assist in the final) and for carrying Holland (16mil people country with a desperately out of form Van Persie and a playingwithaholeinhisleg Robben) to the finals of the WC).

        @soccermomo – Go there if you want. we are going for one for the thumb. the left thumb, that is, lol.

        • soccermomof4
          January 10, 2011

          As cules we are brethren, but for 3 odd hours on Saturday we will be bitter enemies.
          Have you noticed though, that the more into soccer/football you get, the more impatient you get with American football/throwball. Too many commercials!
          Cule hugs,
          SoMa4

  34. January 10, 2011

    Once again, I am going to be the unpopular one here, and say that Messi isn’t the correct winner. Tom_Johnson is right. It isn’t a popularity contest, and yet it went to the most popular player.

    We all know that Messi is brilliant, amazing, choose whatever adjective you want. He scores, assists, dribbles and drives the team bus.

    But if that award’s evaluative criteria was based on who had the best overall season last year, who gets it, the guy who helped club and country win championships, or the guy who just helped club win championship. Further, if the World Cup isn’t to be the sole arbiter, or even heavily weighted, then why is Iniesta in the running, instead of Sneijder (team triple, World Cup runner-up), who should have gotten the nod over Ghostface.

    Ultimately, this is a win for Barca. But I think that the people saying that Messi isn’t the proper winner (something I consider to be very different than “deserving”) are correct.

    On rare occasions, the player of the year won’t be the one who scored the most goals. When Cannavaro won, it was weighted heavily in favor of the World Cup, and when you at that collection of thugs, time wasters and catenaccio specialists (nope….still not over it, never will be), he was the fairly easy pick.

    But usually, it’s he who scored the most goals, as if those are the ultimate arbiter of footballing excellence.

    This award, as I understand it, isn’t who is the best player in the world in terms of ability. That’s Messi. Duh. It is who had the best calendar year of football in this season past. I just don’t see how anyone could vote against Xavi, when you consider those parameters. If it’s a club football award that’s another matter, and the Messi choice makes sense. Otherwise, prima facie, the winner’s national team got bounced out of the World Cup in the quarterfinals, and the third-place guy’s national team won the World Cup.

    Am I making a bit of sense?

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Yes, you are making sense (and I should defer to you as you have been following this game longer than I). But I don’t think it was a popularity contest (seems to me that most of the non-cule people who acknowledge Messi as the best do so almost grudgingly) based solely on goal scoring. He scored the most goals in Europe, true, but also he was second in the league only to Xavi in assists last season and is tearing up the league in assists this year. He’s added playmaking to his repetoire (sp?) in a huge way. Argentina didn’t do too poorly(would’ve done better with a proper coach and some real defenders) in the WC and although Messi didn’t score any goals he was at the heart of everything good that they did do. My heart was torn between the 3 for this award (really more between Messi and Xavi as Iniesta was absent for too much of the calender year) but my head said Messi should get it.

    • blitzen
      January 10, 2011

      FWIW, I agree. Messi is undoubtedly the best in the world in terms of sheer genius, but this year, this year, Xavi had the best season for both club and country.

      I’m actually surprised how disappointed I am that Xavi didn’t get it. I didn’t think I would be, I mean it’s a victory for Barca in any case and Messi is absolutely deserving. I certainly don’t begrudge him. But it’s just time, and past time, for Xavi to get his due.

      • soccermomof4
        January 10, 2011

        I think that I would have been very happy and also a little sad whatever had happened. I guess we were all so exited that it would be a Barca sweep and that one of our guys was sure to win it we forgot that we were going to be disappointed that the other two didn’t win. I would have liked a 3-way tie! Xaviniestleo won it!

    • Helge
      January 11, 2011

      Well, the question is was Xavi really better than Messi?

      Messi scored 60 goals in the calendar year (only for club, I suppose – and he added at least 2 with Argentina, albeit in friendlies). Messi made in all competitions about 22 assists (don’t forget he had 4 assists and some shots hitting the post in the WC). Can Xavi actually match his assists?
      Messi didn’t have a bad World Cup, he was by far the best player in an absolutely incoherent Argentina team. He was completely off against Germany, but so was Schweinsteiger and most of the Germans against Spain. It can happen in a single match. Do you think Argentina would lose to Germany 0-4 again, right now? I doubt it.
      I personally also would have preferred Xavi, I’ve posted a ranking 1. Xavi 2. Messi and 3. Iniesta, with the addendum that there is no room left for discussion.

      But I think it was Lev who brought up a good point. Would Spain have won the WC with Messi instead of Xavi? probably.
      Would Argentina have won the WC with Xavi instead of Messi? Most definitely not.
      Messi, at Barca, can replace Xavi a lot better than the other way round.
      Also, I have to admit that from my point of view, Xavi was not as pivotal to Spain’s WC as he was to their Euro2008 triumph. Xavi actually had fewer assists than Messi. Looking at the goals, most of were down to the great understanding between Villa and Iniesta.

      I love Xavi, and I would have loved to see him win. But I also love Messi, and 60 goals in one year, about 20 assists – if it’s not about titles but about the best player during the last year, who else could it have been?

      • blitzen
        January 11, 2011

        I just disagree with your basic assumption that number of goals and assists automatically makes the best player. It’s got to be about more than that. If that is the case, then a defender can never be the best player.

  35. beeeef
    January 10, 2011

    Have to say I was surprised to see Messi win over Xavi, but for the top 3 nominees to all be Barca players was good enough for me.

    back to football now.

    anybody see Cavani’s 3rd goal in the napoli-juve game? watch the replay closely for a goal of the year contender in 2011

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=SKL4WxTqHzw

  36. Lev
    January 10, 2011

    I guess, Kxevin, in comparing Xavi and Messi’s seasons, how much weight does one give to the World Cup?

    Consider that Messi plays for a flawed, unbalanced national side that was managed by a (bless his soul) flawed, unbalanced coach.

    Xavi played alongside 6 to 7 of his clubmates + Casillas. The odds were definitely in his favor to have a more successful WC. Also, although Spain won as a team, I am not even sure that Xavi was the best player for his team over those 7 games, a case could be made for both Iniesta and Villa.

    • barcarolle
      January 10, 2011

      I would say that Busquets was their most consistent player actually – Iniesta was only really in full on insane mode when the game became stretched in the final, Villa was vital early on but when asked to play as a 9 was nullified and Xavi was playing a bit too high up the pitch to be properly effective IMO. Going back to Busi, his role is never going to win him the plaudits, but he didn’t really put a foot wrong and largely nullified two of the World Cup’s biggest stars in Ozil and Sneijder. I’d go as far as saying he carried Xabi Alonso (who got a ridiculous amount of votes in the Balon D’Or incidently, i.e. more than none). I thought it was very telling that Del Bosque said that if he could go back and be any player, he would be Busquets – I am sure it was partly kidology, but it is a tribute to what an unusually refined sense of the game Busi at 22.

      • soccermomof4
        January 10, 2011

        Agree—Busi carried Xabi Alonso ( I was VERY surprised how many votes he got)—-but shhhh! Busi’s our secrest weapon. Keep it secret, keep it safe!

        • barcarolle
          January 10, 2011

          He is so secret that a significant amount of Barca fans (including me) took about two seasons to fully realise what Pep saw in him! At that rate, it’ll take the rest of the world about 283 seasons to catch on, so we should be fine. 😉

  37. January 10, 2011

    But if that award’s evaluative criteria was based on who had the best overall season last year, who gets it, the guy who helped club and country win championships, or the guy who just helped club win championship.

    You know, I’ve been trying to actually look up and determine what the explicit evaluation criteria are for the award – and have been unable to find them.

    I would think that there must be explicit rules and criteria upon which judging is to be based.

    But I can’t find them on the fifa website and have tried to google it, both to no luck.

    Does anyone know exactly what the explicit criteria are from fifa/france football?

    Everyone is talking about what the award is given for but I can’t find exactly how it is documented.

    “Best” is so ambiguous that it’s going to depend on what criteria define it. I figured there has to be detailed voting criteria but have been surprised to not find them.

    • Lev
      January 10, 2011

      I would be very surprised if there are any explicit criteria, Euler. Sports are not science. Even in the relatively stats-obsessed US sportsworld MVP’s are not decided on any tangible criteria, although being the best player on the best team usually helps (at least in basketball).

      • Lev
        January 10, 2011

        should read: if there were any explicit criteria. excuse the sloppy grammar.

      • January 10, 2011

        Lev-

        There are explicit criteria for awards for professional sports in the U.S.

        They aren’t very detailed or mapped out like an outlined list with definitions, etc, but there are criteria.

        If Fifa/ football france don’t have them, that would be a shame. Because then they are leaving the award in a haze of ambiguity.

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      I think it comes down to personal preference/ warm-fuzzy factor for the voters. And in Iker’s case, a strong prejudice about pesky Argentinian’s who have terrorized him in the past.

  38. January 10, 2011

    One point on Wesley Sneijder. Inter won the treble overwhelmingly based on their defense. They were first and foremost defensive side that played a broken system in which 3 attackers, including Sneijder, were largely freed from defensive duties.

    Inter won the treble due to the solidity and coherence of Maicon, Lucio, Samuel, Zanetti, with support from Cambiasso, Motta, Eto’o,etc. more than any other factor.

    I’m unclear on why Inter winning the treble makes Sneijder more deserving of being the best player in the world when he only minimally contributed to the primary reason why they won the treble to begin with.

  39. Víctor
    January 10, 2011

    “but the 2010 World Cup should always be remembered as Xavi and Iniesta’s World Cup.”

    This statement I disagree with. I think that Puyol, Villa, Busquets (he was one of the best of the Spanish team, actually) and Casillas were just as important as Xavi and Iniesta.

    Villa, well, he scored the winner goals against Portugal and Paraguay. Granted, Paraguay doesn’t seem that tough, but it was a very hard match for Spain.

    Puyol, to me, he was the real leader of the Spanish team, even when Casillas was officially the captain… not to mention his goal against Germany.

    Busquets has to be the most underrated player in the World Cup. He was quite consistent in the Spanish team. He is a very good player.

    Casillas did very important saves in the games, including the final. Yes, I know, he plays for the EE, but let’s be fair, he did important things at the World Cup.

    So, this is not meant to say that Xavi and Iniesta weren’t important, they obviously where, but to me, the Spanish team that won the WC was a real team effort.

  40. Lev
    January 10, 2011

    What are those explicit criteria in US sports and if the criteria are so explicit, how can there ever be disagreement over who should get the MVP (Nash over Shaq, for example).

    As for Inter they defended as a team but it was Sneijder who gave the them shape going forward. He was their playmaker and their most important player, a fact often repeated by their coach ever since his first match against Milan. I think he catches a lot of unfair flack on these here boards for being ex-Madridista & Mourinhista (not saying he doesn’t deserve to be dissed for those very reasons, but still, lol).

    • soccermomof4
      January 10, 2011

      Their shape going forward wasn’t as deadly as the shape their defense was able to maintain in the back. Sneijder was a very small part of the bus.

    • January 10, 2011

      Here are some of the explicit criteria sent to journalists who vote for “most valuable player award” in baseball:

      (1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense; (2) number of games played; (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort; (4) former winners are eligible; and (5) members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team.”

      The MVP committee members are also urged, “to give serious consideration to all your selections, from 1 to 10.” The voters understand that a 10th-place vote can influence the outcome of an election. They must fill in all 10 places on the ballot and they are to consider only regular-season performances. The writers must also, “Keep in mind that all players are eligible for MVP, including pitchers and designated hitters.”</i?

      To be honest, this isn't some detailed list of how to vote. There are always going to controversies and disagreements. In baseball there is still endless discussion over what constitutes "value".

      My original point what that I just wanted to know what instructions were sent to the voters. They must have gotten something about what to do with their ballots.

      Just as a simple example – one of the explicit criteria was that a national team captain could not vote for a fellow countrymen. Everyone except Marc Van Bommell seemed to have read and understood that rule. I was just wondering what the other criteria were that guided them on the factors they were to consider in voting.

      Regarding Sneijder, I think he's an excellent footballer and I wasn't knocking him. My point was more in reference to things I've seen in the press. Journalists voted for Sneijder. And I've seen it written that Sneijder is more deserving than Xavi because Xavi has iniesta with him and plays on the brilliant barca team so how much does Xavi himself really do when Messi is their best player.

      I think that's ridiculous because you can make the same argument against Sneijder. Inter primarily won because they prevented the opposition from scoring. Sneijder was completely dependent on his defense to do that. If you are going to knock Xavi for playing alongside Iniesta or Messi, then an equal point can be made on Sneijder.

      Football is a systems based sport. It's hard to disentangle how much indivduals impact winning, if team success is to be the criteria for awards.

      • Lev
        January 10, 2011

        Mmm baseball is the American sport that I least follow. Well, I guess more than NASCAR, but still, point taken.

        The “not voting for fellow countrymen” is more of a rule than a criteria.

        Also I am not saying that Sneijder should have won. Yet although I consider Xavi the better player I do consider Sneijder Inter’s most important player and as such I am more inclined to reward the player who has turned a scudetti winning team who but seriAl CL failure into a triple winning team.

        And although I agree with the argument that at Internazionale he benefited from a great defense, I repeat that Inter defended as a team – there is not one individual on that team who was more vital to their success than Wesley Sneijder, who had the task and the freedom to orchestrate their attack and their counters.

        were it not for Messi’s individual brilliance, I think the journalist were right to vote for the most important player on the triple winning team, even though Xavi and Iniesta (and C.Ronaldo and probably Ikeahimovic and some others are more talented players).

        Btw in Holland Marc Van Bommel is often considered German, based on both his play and the fact that he’s a dick :p.

        (if any of you are German out there, please take that as a playful jab).

      • January 11, 2011

        Euler, regardless of who -in each one’s opinion-should have won, your mentioned criteria (in baseball) will barely change anything in the result.

        (1) actual value of a player to his team, that is, strength of offense and defense: Messi,Xavi,and Iniesta contribute more in defense and were better in offense this YEAR (not season) than Sneijder.

        (2) number of games played; It is over my head now,but i think both Messi and Xavi played more than Sneijder. Dont know about Iniesta.

        (3) general character, disposition, loyalty and effort: Thats all subjective (Sneijder is the only player out of the four who changed clubs, if thats a sign of Loyalti-though I won’t count it)

        (4) former winners are eligible: As long as you are the best, you are in. Spain will play next WC though they are the champions.

        (5) members of the committee may vote for more than one member of a team: done.

        I will study the votes today and write a post about it. My first impression is that the reasons for this outcome is just unfortunate situation, not bias or ignorance.

  41. jaymin
    January 11, 2011

    Xavi iniesta, sneijder, fabregas affelay, forlan, wilshere, hamsik, ronaldo, etc. Will never win this award. Just like all the nba stars unlucky enough to play while mj did, they will never brightly shine. Talk about deserve,about body of work but no player on earth, including iniesta, is fit to lace messi’s boots. That boy is a gift from God to lovers of this game
    The rest try very hard.

    • Helge
      January 11, 2011

      Ehm… Ronaldo did already win it?
      He won both, Ballon D’Or and WPotY in 2008.

  42. jaymin
    January 11, 2011

    luminescent. sunshines true as the facts themselves; ronaldo did indeed win the old awards. won’t win this new combined one, unless of course Real put Barca through the ringer Inter did last year. Which probably won’t happen. So Spain can worship the land to which they gave their language and to which Italy kissed their racial future. And Catalunya can figure out a way to be off the hook for any relevant taxes that come due. Ronald Reagan speaks for them, through they be not oppressed, their grandparents had a hell of a time!

  43. January 11, 2011

    My only worry is that this doesn’t affect the team because both Andresito and Xavi came very close and defenetly pictured themselves holding the award. I’m more sad about Andres in a sense because this nomination has given him confidence that is very apparent in his game now like shooting for goal…while i dont think wining this award would change Xavi in the slightest…
    However if I had to vote I’d vote for Xavi but I understand all those who voted for Leo…because well its LEO!
    The crap coming out of marca I think might actually work in our favour this time …cause the squad will try to protect Leo from this whole -“unfair” “Disgrace”- parade while at the same time Xavi and Iniesta get the recognition they deserve…

    Anyways… one more day for tiki-taka 🙂

    • Jnice
      January 11, 2011

      No chance it affects the team. If so, then the players would seriously have to take a look at themselves.

  44. jaymin
    January 11, 2011

    “barca doesn’t retreat, it reloads!”

  45. 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 😀

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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. 🙂

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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? 😛

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. 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!

  57. Lev
    January 11, 2011

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

Leave a Reply