“Please say Xavi, Please Say Xavi” declares Lionel Messi, to himself, sitting in the first row at the Ballon D’Or ceremony. He is the odds-on favourite to win. It may go to Xavi for sentimentality reasons, the same way Ryan Giggs won the PFA Player of The Year Award in 2009. It may also go to Cristiano Ronaldo, if the judges happen to be passed brown paper envelopes.
There is no doubt, however, that Messi was the best player in this calendar year. He has continued to defy description to a point that you feel repetition will start to occur sooner or later. The 24-year-old Argentinian has also been one of the top two finalists for the Ballon D’Or award since 2008.
So if Messi does win it this year, when will the greedy Lionel give up his space as the world’s greatest?
Has Leo been the best player in Europe this season so far? No, he hasn’t. Robin Van Persie has been the outstanding striker in Europe this campaign.
Leo will not even be the best player in Europe this season, possibly, but after all the other top Europeans play in Euro 2012, they will be notably fatigued. Messi will be rested and will set La Liga alight in the first few months of the 2012-13 season, winning the Ballon D’Or, pipping the other favourite at the post.
Cue allegations of corruption, collusion and cronyism.
Continuing the Barcelona stranglehold on the award, the little maestro will win the award with no dubiousness.
For "balance," they have not awarded the trophy to Lionel Messi, who has been the best player of the year. FIFA does like diversity, so this year they decide to pick a midfielder. Xavi has slowly moved down the pecking order at the Camp Nou, with Thiago and Cesc Fabregas doing well to fill the massive gap.
Iniesta has now cemented his position as the best playmaker in the world, guiding Barcelona, along with Messi, to their status as the greatest club side of all time.
The man from Lyon has ascended to the position as the premier striker in world football. Unai Emery is now the Real Madrid coach and has manufactured a perfect rapport with the fans, hierarchy and the players.
Benzema has become the star man at the Bernabeu, maturing into a complete all-around player. He has also helped fellow forward Neymar settle into the new culture of playing football in the capital.
Meanwhile, over in Catalonia, Mario Gotze pens a new lifetime deal to keep him in Blaugrana colours until he retires.
"Super Mario" descends into the hearts of FC Barcelona fans around the world. Snubbing their hated rivals, Real Madrid, two years previous, he plays on the right of an attacking three consisting of himself, Messi and Iker Muniain.
He plays with a panache and endeavour seen only previously in Ronaldhino’s magical but precious five seasons at the Camp Nou.
He becomes only the second German to win the FIFA World Player of the Year and the fourth to win the Ballon D’Or.
Again in search for "balance" they shift the award to a defender. Smalling has come out of Euro 2016 as the World’s Best Defender. He catapults England to the semis where they lose to Portugal on penalties.
The newly-appointed vice-captain of Manchester United starts to show the best of qualities from his two predecessors, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic; he shows the desire and fearlessness of Vidic and the calm, cool collectiveness of Ferdinand.
Even Pele could not have predicted this one.