Friday, 7 January 2011
With the election of the 2010 FIFA Ballon D’Or given to the best football player this past year looming, many are wondering who the winner should be. There’s Messi, unquestionably the best player in the world at the moment; Iniesta, the face of Spain’s triumph at the World Cup; and Xavi, midfielder maestro and team-mate to both of them.
Many criticize and others accept the influence of the World Cup in such election. Messi had an outstanding record-breaking year with Barcelona, but success with his National team, Argentina, is still to be achieved. Some might argue that hadn’t it been for such an unprepared coach like Diego Maradona, Argentina would’ve gone far. But they didn’t. And if a World Cup year is a mayor decider on the outcome of this year’s awards, then Messi would not be repeating as FIFA Ballon D’Or for 2010.
Iniesta is undoubtedly the most celebrated member of the Spanish squad that became World Champions, still receiving standing ovations from fans of other teams in Spain when Barcelona plays away in the league. He didn’t even play all the matches or even score the most goals. He just needed one. And that one goal has put him up on the podium for this award. Unfair for me to say that, you might argue, but after spending half of the season plagued with injuries and even being in doubt of going to South Africa at all, I don’t think his year as a footballer was better than Messi’s or Xavi’s.
And finally, Xavi. The little man from Terrassa that is as Catalan as his club. He is Barcelona, and Barcelona is him. He is the boss of the field. While Casillas was the captain of the hearts in South Africa, Xavi was the captain of the minds. He does the dirty work; he looks for the diamonds in the mines and gives it to the jewellers to make it spark. He is the rhythm section of the orchestra that has become Guardiola’s Barcelona. Comparing his year to Messi’s and Iniesta’s, he played more minutes than the latter and has found more success with the National team than the former.
After many years of this award going to the star of the show, it is time that the producer gets some recognition. Like the jeweller is less without the work of the miner, we might have been deprived of the beauty of Messi and Iniesta’s game if there hadn’t been a Xavi.
Xavi Hernandez, FIFA Ballon D’Or 2010… if there’s any justice in the world.