FIFA has shortlisted the top three players for the 2010 Ballon d'Or honour. That isn't a surprise, but what is surprising is that list doesn't have the name of Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder. Instead, the famous Barcelona trio of Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez will fight it out for the prestigious award.
Messi, as you would expect, is the front-runner with 34 League goals during 2009/10 season, which saw him pick up the European Golden Shoe.
Xavi played consistently well and just deserves to be on the list, but Iniesta actually wasn't at his best during the first half of last season. However, his match-winning goal in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2010 seems to be just enough to ensure a place on the list, which means Sneijder misses out.
One may ask how on earth Sneijder missed out after his best season in club and International play. That's FIFA for you. The ludicrous FIFA wrapped up in the blanket of corruption.
After denying England the chance to host 2018 World Cup, now FIFA is loath to recognise the contributions of a wonderfully talented player, which is inviting ridicule upon the federation that's supposed to promote and recognise talent instead of turning a blind eye.
Wesley Sneijder was part of Jose Mourinho's treble-winning Inter Milan team—in fact, was the lynchpin and shouldered the offensive duties alongside Diego Milito. He played a key role in Inter winning the Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the coveted Champions League.
Was FIFA right to omit Wesley Sneijder?
He was promptly named the UEFA midfielder of the year, which just serves as a testament to his consistency and effectiveness during the best part of a successful campaign where his individual performance aided the team to a treble.
His exploits don't end there. After guiding his club to glory, Sneijder reprised his world-beating form for the Netherlands in the World Cup. He was the mainstay of an above average Holland side that contested in the final of the World Cup—to the surprise of many—which they eventually lost to Spain.
However, Sneijder scored five goals and received four Man of the Match awards and fittingly was named the second best player of the tournament.
The Ballon d'Or is awarded to the player who has been the best performer over a calendar year and not to a player who has won the World Cup. Apparently, Barcelona have only won the La Liga last season, so even in terms of silverware Sneijder has won more than any of the Barcelona players, if individual performance doesn't suffice you to a top three spot.
FIFA's decision to omit Sneijder, arguably the best player in 2009/10 season, from the shortlist for Xavi and Iniesta is a disgrace to football. The game voices for fairplay but ironically the federation in charge is biased toward a club that plays in a league where several teams aren't even as competitive as Serie B sides.
P.S: I am not here to compare or contrast the competitiveness of any league. Let's just appreciate and recognise the contributions of a footballer who has been viciously ignored by the farcical body called FIFA, shall we?