Xavi was third in 2009 and he did yet another fantastic season.
When asked about it before the World Cup final, Xavi showed his modesty, saying Messi is the best. This is a player whose main focus is to help his team win. Xavi never really worried about individual titles. But he has made a good enough season to be a contender for this one.
He only scored 7 goals in 51 matches for his club and none in the World Cup, but we all know Xavi was never a big scorer.
Providing passing lines and setting up chances for his teammates is what Xavi does, actually better than anyone else in the world. He always manages to find the open man and, for the last 2 years, he has been the key player in Barcelona’s game style, as he’s the one behind most of Messi’s goals for instance. He concluded his fantastic season in a glorious way, by leading Spain to the World Cup title and proving once again that’s he’s the most complete midfielder in modern football.
If Barcelona had won the Champions League, I’d say Xavi was the favorite to win this award. But they didn’t. And Xavi, being one of the most underrated players in world football, will probably have to settle for another top-3 position. But, then again, who knows?
Xavi’s teammate and fellow countryman Andrés Iniesta, fourth in 2009, was injured for the last part of the season, which ruined his chances. Still, he’ll be a top-10 for sure with some chances of getting a spot in the top-5.
Highlight of the year: Consistency is one of Xavi’s main attributes, but I’ll pick the Bernabeu match, where Xavi assisted for both Barcelona’s goals in a 2-0 victory.