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FIFA Ballon D'Or: Iniesta or Xavi, Just Not Messi

Hunter BanksContributor IJanuary 14, 2011

Lionel Messi captured the inaugural FIFA Ballon D'Or
Lionel Messi captured the inaugural FIFA Ballon D'OrAngel Martinez/Getty Images

Lionel Messi has been awarded the Ballon D'Or Award. But does he truly deserve it?

Is the tiny Argentinian the “best in the world”?

Simply put, No.

The award is the combination of the FIFA World Player of the Year and France Football magazine's Ballon D'Or Award (French for "Golden Ball"). It came about as an effort to recognize the “world’s best player” instead of “Europe’s best player.”

Messi was a finalist for the award with Barcelona teammates Xavi and Iniesta. If anything, Messi should have been third in voting behind Iniesta, the rightful winner, and Xavi.

Iniesta has become the talisman for the Catalan giants and proved himself to be a critical member of the Spanish national team. Iniesta was, after all, the player that scored the eventual winner in the World Cup final this summer. 

Does anyone remember the 2009 Champion’s League semi-final when Iniesta scored a stoppage time goal that took Barca from being eliminated by Chelsea to eventual winners?  

Messi is extremely talented, no one can argue against that, but he has an incredible supporting cast around him. Iniesta and Xavi have recorded an assist on a countless number of Messi’s goals.

David Villa and Pedro are responsible for Messi’s success also. 

Villa, the prototypical striker, and Pedro, the quick and shifty winger opposite Messi, pass up opportunities to net the ball in favor of feeding it to Messi for an easy tally.  

Messi also has defensive midfielders Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano who are both extremely capable ball-winners. Ditto for Puyol and Pique—perhaps the greatest defensive duo the world’s game has ever seem.  

Without such an impeccable supporting cast including rightful winner of the Ballon D’Or Award, Iniesta, Lionel Messi would be just another young Argentinian vying for attention amongst the mass of foreign imports in La Liga.

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