So Johan Cruyff has been quoted as saying he feels that the winner of the Ballon d’Or come January should not be Messi – who is odds on favourite to claim a third title – but Xavi, the player who makes Barcelona tick and whilst not the biggest ‘star’ in the team is the one who makes others look good and threads those sublime passes through.
As anyone who has read my other articles will know, I would pick neither for my winner – Ronaldo for me has been the best player in the world, winning the Golden Boot in Spain and for me a more consistent player. Whilst this year’s award may come slightly too soon for Ronaldo, with the fact that both Xavi and Messi play for the team who won the lot last season – except the Copa Del Ray – too hard to ignore.
If we are going on Cruyff’s assessment of how to decide the winner, then I would again pick a different Barcelona player – Andres Iniesta. The midfield maestro may not get the same plaudits as Xavi or Messi, but is just as vital to the Catalan giants. In fact, when Iniesta is absent, Barca struggle markedly more than during spells without Messi or Xavi.
A further consideration is that both Xavi and Iniesta have enjoyed considerable success for their national team – something which has not only alluded Messi, but seems to bring out an almost English like side to him. When playing for Argentina, Messi is so far below the level of what we expect of him he may as well be invisible.
Xavi not only made FIFA’s all-star team after the Spanish victory in the World Cup but also can boast being named player of the tournament during the 2008 Euros. Iniesta also made a vital contribution to the Spanish national side, and surely this is something that must go some way to deciding the World Player of the year award?
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