At this point only World Cup success eludes him. But Leo Messi has done enough to earn himself a place in the pantheon of the greats. He was awarded the trophy by O Fenomeno looking none the worse for wear for someone recently recovering from dengue fever.
Messi beat out Cristiano Ronaldo, the Liga’s top scorer last season, and his Barca team mate Xavi. He joins Michel Platini as the only player to have won three consecutive Ballon D’Or awards although the Frenchman won his when only European players were eligible.
The bar is set high. By a fellow countryman. Diego Maradona is still the best. He won Napoli their first scudetto in 1986-87 almost single handedly and then won Argentina its 1986 World Cup. Maradona did not have the luxury of a stellar cast of characters who surround Messi at Barca who improve his game perceptibly. But Messi is just 24 years. There are potentially two more World Cup to go. Plenty of time to emerge as the world’s best footballer.
The FiFPro XI were players chosen from just three clubs: Barca, Real Madrid, and Man Utd:
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Nemanja Vidic (Manchester Utd), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Wayne Rooney (Manchester Utd).