Lionel Messi was praised by fellow FC Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano as deserving of a fourth consecutive Ballon D'Or. According to an article on Goal.com, Mascherano said that he would give the award to Messi, Xavi, and Andres Iniesta if it were possible.
Messi has been the recipient of the award in each of the past three years, dating back to 2009. While others will say that a new winner should be crowned, Messi deserves the Ballon D'Or for his actions on the field during the 2011-2012 season.
UEFA Champions League
The UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou on March 7, 2012 is one of the reasons. The match is a historical one since Messi scored five of the seven goals in this match to give La Blaugrana its victory.
Goal declared his performance in the UEFA Champions League one of the greatest in the match. One of the reasons was his ability to score one of the goals from an angle.
All Time Goal Scorer
During the 2011-2012 season, Messi made Barca history when he became the all time goal scorer. Messi accomplished this feat by surpassing the previous record of 232 goals set by Cesar Rodriguez.
Messi was able to achieve this feat with a hat trick during the match between La Blaugrana and Granada on March 20, 2012. The result of this match was FC Barcelona defeating Granada with a 5-3 score.
According to an Associated Press article with a h/t to ESPN, Messi scored a hat trick in Barca's match against Malaga on May 2012. In the process, he broke Gerd Mueller's record of 67 goals in a European World Football season.
Messi scored 68 goals in a World Football Season in Europe after the FC Barcelona-Malaga match. The success of Messi reached the point that TIME Magazine (except for the United States) named the Argentine Astro among the top 100 personalities.
According to an article written by Derek Alexander of the Sunday Mail, Messi broke the record set by Archie Stark who scored 70 goals within one season in the USA. Stark played for Bethlehem Steel in the USA.
Messi scored 72 goals during the match between FC Barcelona and Espanyol in May of 2012.
While Iker Casillas and Cristiano Ronaldo may have made strong cases for being in contention for the Ballon D'Or, it is Messi that deserves it. It remains to be seen what will transpire in the next Ballon D'Or awards.