December 6th, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Who is the world's best footballer?

Xavi has been a fixture in the Barcelona midfield for the last decade.
Xavi has been a fixture in the Barcelona midfield for the last decade.

The three-man shortlist for the new FIFA Ballon d’Or award has been announced, and in my mind there is no doubt who should be voted the winner – Xavi.

If you look around the world and scan all of the top teams, who can you think of that is more influential during a game of football than the Barcelona and Spain maestro? I can find no-one.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to watch, in person, many of the most talented players of the last two decades. The best I ever saw was Zinedine Zidane.  The way he could set the tone and control a game was incredible. The ball stuck to his feet as if it were connected by an invisible string. It was magical.

The Frenchman knew what he was going to do even before he was given the ball and had an amazing ability to make everyone around him better.

The only other footballer I have seen have a similar impact in midfield is Xavi.

The 30-year-old has been pulling the strings for Spain and Barcelona for the best part of a decade, and this season he deserves recognition for leading his country to the World Cup title and his club to another league trophy.

Xavi has always had a knack for making football look easy. When he burst onto the scene in the 1990s, as an understudy to his current club coach Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, he already showed signs of becoming a star.

A few years later, he was given the responsibility of taking over from Pep and becoming Barcelona’s maestro. He hasn’t looked back since and has even been credited with creating Spain’s so called "tiki-taka" - the possession style of football featuring dozens of short passes which eventually tear opponents’ defenses to pieces.

It could be easy to overlook the tiny Terrassa native when identifying the stars of Spain and Barcelona over the past year. After all, David Villa was the man who scored most of the goals at the World Cup, and Leo Messi in the league.

However, those stars would not have been able to shine as brightly had Xavi not been behind them. In South Africa he completed 89% of his passes and assisted on two of his country’s eight goals in the competition.

For Barcelona, he registered over 20 assists as the club swept all before them throughout the season. I remember watching him rip Real Madrid’s defense to pieces in last season’s "Clasico" clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Two assists for two Messi goals. It’s easy to see the effect he has on Leo. Just have a look at the Argentine’s goalscoring record for club and country - he's unstoppable in a Barca shirt but far less potent for his national team.

So as the coaches and captains of 208 national teams vote for this prestigious award along with leading journalists around the world, I hope justice is done and Xavi comes out on top. As good as the other two finalists - Messi and Andres Iniesta - have been, he was by a mile the planet’s best player this year.

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soundoff (144 Responses)
  1. Salum

    Thanx very much for choosing my men. to me whoever win the trophy i'll be happy since am the loviest fan of Spanish Football with fond love to Barcelona.Today three men of barca are held to tie for the trophy... why there are none from english league ar else,still can people stand to say Premier league is more better? by which factorz? Bravo all of my men

    December 6, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Reply
  2. Rafael Reynal

    All three are excellent choices for 2010. I think Messi is the truely superstar for all ages, but he couldn't accomplish all with Barcelona without Xavi and Inesta. Spain won the World Cup, so a vote should go to its superior mid-fielders. Yet the goal average for Messi on the Liga and the Champions League combined is more then impressive. Any of the three would be fine by me. Thanks. RAFAEL

    December 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Reply
  3. Cule

    He deserves it. A crown on his incredible career.

    December 6, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Reply
  4. asmara eritrea

    i found the list unfair....what happen to arjen robben , the magnificent sneider...he have won every thing and pulled his national team to the final...at least he should be on the short list......but what can we say..i can see more clearly that Fifa is more corrapted and unstabilaized in giving decisions..

    December 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  5. Jack

    I agree, Xavi should be the winner. Messi is the best but this year Xavi has done everything to deserve it, more than Iniesta, another amazing player. Anyway, at the end it will be an award for all of them and their incredible team, FC Barcelona.

    December 6, 2010 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  6. Miguel

    Xavi is a very good midfielder, no doubt. But like Zinedine Zidane? Come on. Lionel Messi is not only like Zinedine Zidane, he's going to be like Maradona or Pele (sooner than later). Messi is incredible, the best in the world by all accounts.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:50 am | Reply
  7. Philip Lee

    Sneijder Iniesta Xavi
    Why Messi,bad national team show!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 3:19 am | Reply
  8. Harry

    Pedro, u r scanning only top teams which is unfair. To me Diego Forlan was miles on top of everybody else. we should look further than Barcelona when we are looking at this issue. Forlan singlehandedly lifted the Europa cup, took Uruguay to the world cup sem final, scored same goals etc etc etc! i wonder what messi, Xavi or Iniesta would do if they were picked to play in other teams outside of Spain and Barca. The footballing world has been unfair to Diego.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:39 am | Reply
  9. AG

    Sorry Pedro, Xavi is a great mastermind but Messi is at a whole different level. At 23 he is not only shortlisted as the best this year, but also as one of the best ever. Not even Zidane, a phenomenal player, has that honor. They will give it to Xavi because Spain needs another diversion from its horrid economic crisis, but Messi has been the best player in the world for the last 4 years.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:53 am | Reply
  10. Nomnso

    Sniejder is the man for this award. You know it, we know it, FIFA knows it. But they are too drunken with the wine of corruption and partiality that they'd rather choose someone of similar south American heritage than the person who epitomizes the award. This is a ploy to pass the award to Xavi or Iniesta considering that as long as Messi stays in the team, they'll never taste it's glory. Sniejder was schemed out because with him in the list, such an arrangement would not work out.

    December 7, 2010 at 7:38 am | Reply
  11. Ralph esene

    The three shortlist for this year's FIFA BALLON d'or are no doubt exceptional footballers and individuals.All through the season,all three have held football fans the world over spell bound with great footballing skills both for club and country,with all three contributing massively in BARCA retaining the LA LIGA championship,with Iniesta,and Xavi going one step(massive) ahead of Messi at the world cup in South Afric and emerging world champions.
    Did Messi fail at the world cup? Personally,I think he had a great world cup,as he was a real threat to all opposing teams.Before the world cup,Messi was in great form in liga,where in emerged champion,just like Iniesta and Xavi.He Won the pinchichi award,and the golden shoe in europe,and not forgetting his wonderful runs and goals haul in season 2009/2010 uefa champs league.He's continued this season where he stopped last season.
    "don" Xavi,what can one say about this football living legend a la Zadian? Xavi,over the years has been the heart of both club and country.Without the heart how can you breath? Impossible,right....He(Xavi) hardly loose the ball,great ball passer,one that does things(great) with the ball that makes the game look easy,but intresting,and to add a great personality.
    Iniesta,the world cup hero! Great passer and holder of the ball.Can shake off opponent with ease.
    All three are exceptional payers with great attitude,and deserving winners,but one must emerge winner.As a Barca fan,and faithful(17 years) I'm proud that these guys are the front runners,I'm proud that we have the record of producing the highest number of fifa's world player.....and once again any of Messi,Iniesta,and Xavi will emerge winner any time soon.
    It will be a close one between Messi and Xavi.I think Messi might just claim it.Whoever emerges,FC BARCELONA will sure remain winners.
    "mes que un club," more than a club,we are just more than a club,we are BARCELONA,and we personify good football.BARCA! BARCA!!

    December 7, 2010 at 10:21 am | Reply
  12. ThabetUAE

    To me, Xavi is probably one of the best, if not the best, midfielder in history. Definitely surpassing Zidane. I vote for Xavi! Visca Barca!!

    December 7, 2010 at 11:04 am | Reply
  13. Avin

    This is a pathetic shortlist.. The player of the year has to be Wesley Sniejder... Fifa is totally losing it now..
    Stinks of hypocrisy..

    December 7, 2010 at 11:25 am | Reply
  14. Johan

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the best fotoballer in the world!

    // Johan from Sweden

    December 7, 2010 at 11:37 am | Reply
  15. frank

    Who is Messi?Messi cannot play in any team except Barcelona.We saw it in last world cup not even a single goal.Discrimination will never come to an end.Diego forlan was the best player during world cup and befor world cup.Wher is forlan?Where is Samuel Eto.Can any of those above mentioned players messi,xavi.iniesta played defense like Eto did last year?A good player must be an all rounder not just playing in a club with good players.Messi should change club and let see if he gonna win trophy.

    December 7, 2010 at 11:38 am | Reply
  16. Tofig Ahmed

    I was always wondering when will Xafi be rewarded for his magical football touch, game control, ball possession and so on ....
    I hope it's time now, 100% agree

    December 7, 2010 at 11:44 am | Reply
  17. Pedro de piet

    Bas shortlist, not a very good reflection of this year...

    It's a shame that they do not value Sneijder for his effort the last year.

    December 7, 2010 at 11:54 am | Reply
  18. Jack

    Pep has said it when he saw xavi played in youth team, he knew this kid was going to replace him but then he saw iniesta he knew that this kid would put xavi and pep himself out of the job.

    I'll go for iniesta, for scoring in a crucial match and for got a lot of foul on him both in barca and Spain and that always gave his team a ball possession..

    December 7, 2010 at 11:54 am | Reply
  19. Johan Cruijf

    Winner of the Champions League, Champion of Italia, Winner of the Italian Cup, WC finalist....FORZA Sneijder!!!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  20. Luke

    Maybe Xavi as best in the world right now, but there's no question the finest player to ever take the field is Paul Scholes.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  21. samms

    Diego Forlan!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  22. AGIDOTAN

    XAVI deserves it.Messi is a great player,but sometimes,the race isnot always for the swift.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  23. John Bangkok, Thailand

    Quite frankly who cares? Its totally subjective any way. What about goalkeepers? Its just another award to massage some footballers ego. They should get rid of this award altogether.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  24. Stephan

    I totally agree. Xavi deserves this more than ever. Messi can win again next year but Xavi has done more than enough to deserve this prize.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  25. Maibam Louremba Meetei

    Dear All

    I am a great fan of BARCELONA F.C. and so also three of these great footballers are my favorites.

    All three of them deserves the CROWN but I would vote for Xavi – his midfield is one of the ALL TIME BEST in the FIFA WC 2010 win by Spain.

    Good Luck Xavi.

    Truly Yours

    Meetei

    December 7, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Reply
  26. Shahid

    Some are good players of the ball and others are good with the ball and are so called thinking players, I call them football technicians. Michael Laudrup was the best football technician, I ever saw in last 25 years.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  27. Aotori Mark Wepia

    I'm just in love with Inista and Xavi and to me any of this two deserves the award. Believe me, these two are the engine power house for both their club and national teams. I give to the two, they can be co-winners.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Reply
  28. madina

    i love the selection. but i ll love xavi to take the price. he is a great player.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:33 pm | Reply
  29. Stefan

    Sneijder is clearly the one that is missing from the shortlist. Like I'm not saying he should win but he deserves to be up there since he made Inter win the National league, the National Cup, The Champions league and he got the Dutch team to the finals.

    Think him missing shows what conservatism, commercialization, corruption and friend politics have done to the FIFA.
    The football economy has grown so much the last decades and with all the money that it involves comes a higher payoff for corruption...
    Really think the FIFA needs some sort of agencies controlling it's vast financial income. Not to mention the conservative attitude towards technical aides for the Ref.
    Hopefully the international community can talk some sense into the FIFA again....

    December 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  30. badih

    Messi hands down!

    December 7, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  31. Stephan

    For all those routing for Sniejder, really???!!!
    I bet you also voted for Cannavaro which was a complete travesty.
    Sniejder was booted out of Real Madrid and ended up in Inter. If any Inter player should get the prize it would have to be Samuel Etoo as he has won considerably more than Sneijder in recent times.

    There are only two contenders, Xavi and Messi and frankly Xavi not only won the 6 titles in 2009 and the same tournaments as Messi but also the World Cup. Messi is fantastic but Xavi deserves this prize.
    A fantastic footballer and person. Unpretentious and humble (like Messi).

    December 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  32. Prince

    I dont like your line of arguement. I think u are too baised Pedro. I was expecting u to present the strengths and weaknesses of the 3. Then leave it for fans to vote and not conclude by asking coaches to vote for a particular player to me u are being biased. DONT CALL ON ANYBODY TO SUPPORT WHAT U THINK. I BELIEVE THEY CAN CHOOSE PROFESSIONALLY. THANKS

    December 7, 2010 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  33. Jun Hyuk

    Lee Chung Yong from Bolton is the Best yeah!!!

    Please vote for him... I Beg YOU! He Is SUPER soccer player!yeah! FOREVER!!!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  34. Mad Mike

    Finally, someone who agrees with me. While Messi is great, he is by no means the best player (or even winger) in the world. He is so dominant with Barca because of Xavi. Just look at how little effect Messi had in the World Cup, when he was without Xavi. Xavi truly deserves this award because of how much he and his teams have accomplished this year, and he has been at the center of it all. Messi gets all the press because he is the one who scores the goals only after Xavi does the work of setting him up. I would be very disappointed in FIFA if they give the award to Messi. To be honest, I feel like Messi shouldn't be on this list. Someone like Wesley Sneijder deserves it more. He was at the World Cup final too, and won the Champion's League and Serie A in Italy this year with Internazionale (neither of which Messi has ever accomplished).

    December 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  35. Buster007

    I took my 8year nephew to see Chelsea play Everton over the weekend costing me in total £130 + club membership fee (rip-off). I could have cried – the game was so boring and I trully wander why anyone would want to watch such premier league games even the 1st half. "El Classico" – now that was a game where these three guys proved they are truly the best in the world. Football poetry even when watched over the Internet

    December 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  36. Alexander

    I think Thomas Müller of Germany should have been nominated for this award if one looks at his performance in the last World Cup and at Bayern Munich last season.

    December 7, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  37. KD

    Xavi was the genious who masterminded World cup win for Spain. So he deserves to be the top player of 2010.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  38. popo

    for christ sake, where was WESLEY SNEIDJER kept on the list. Messi is not expected on the list, for this years world footballer award it ought to be between sneidjer,iniesta and xavi

    December 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  39. pedro

    Xavi is very good and also in holding the ball and passes too, but coming to leo messi he is unstopable and incridible real lion when he is with the ball.
    so i view it as messi the second time, always be there when expect and needed him. given the passes to players is the all , what matters is what did u do with the passes the finisher , so messi always dose wonders with the ball when it comes to him by scoring amazing goals. Go Messi for the best.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  40. Pani Ishaku

    Sneijde is in his best form so I fill that is the world best

    December 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  41. flow

    For me there is one man that fifa has not been fair to and that is wesly snerder of inter. I think he should be part of the last three.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  42. Allan peter

    A car cant move without an engine
    so xavi acts as an engine to messsi'
    foootball,thus xavi deserves it

    December 7, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  43. Willard Munyoka

    Messi is great; but he could not make Argentina win alone. Just like Xavi and Iniesta – its a team work! He has played exceptionally well at world cup, supplying brilliant passes for Tervez to score; just like Xavi. The trio is brilliant, but Messi is phenomenal and exceptionally gifted. He can dribble any number of diffenders, control the ball and scores. The world cup final you are making a lot of noise about, was not that fantastic to carry so much weight. Why then about Diego Follan win the Gold Boots over the Spaniards? Messi is a cut above the rest – though his two team mates are very good!

    December 7, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  44. Prince

    Who can be compared to Messi for now?
    Lets face fact who? THE HONOUR GOES TO PLAYERS WITH VERY EXCEPTIONAL QUALITIES, U ALL MUST KNOW THIS.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Reply
  45. Okoit

    WOW! This is a testament of beautiful football as it provides players wit the opportunity to showcase individual talent and brilliance. EPL is wrestling with the ball!!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  46. Messi

    2010

    69 games played. And gues what? 69 goals scored.

    December 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  47. Kamwendo

    I think Xavi is the best player

    December 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  48. footballfan

    Xavi ,Iniesta and Forlán are the BEST FOOTBALLERS IN THE WHOLE WORLD NOW!

    But I hope the trophy goes to XAVI HERNANDEZ!
    Good luck XAVI AND ANDRES INIESTA both of you......

    December 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  49. abdualrahim

    Andres Iniesta is the best footballer in the world!

    December 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  50. Deej

    I think Messi his the best in the world now.... We all saw him at world cup. even though he did not score a goal but he play much better than those players that score many goals...

    Xavi and Iniesta are grate players no doubt about that but Messi his wonderful and he can do amazing things with the ball... Spain only mangaed to score one goal in most of their games at world cup simply because there was no one that can make use of Xavi pass like Messi. We all see him agaist Real madrid. 46 goals in a sesaon s not easy Man!!!!!!!

    Anyway, I'm a Barcelona fan. so I'm happy with three of them. who ever win it deserve to be crown..

    Barca for Life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  51. Janwillem

    What about SCHNEIDER & ROBBEN???
    Is it all spanish now, or have we forgotton that there other excellent players?
    Who makes these shortlists anyway

    December 7, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  52. godsson

    those three are definately up there but if you tell me that,someone that won the champions league(that most europeans supposedly see is far beta than a world cup final),the scudetto and the italian FA cup,even spearhead the dutch to world cup final not among the top three,then there's sometime wrong.however,personally i think iniesta should b the world player,guess he may neva get recognise cos of his qiet and humble nature.messi is good but...what about forlan europa league and the world cup with such as weak team.

    December 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  53. Geoffrey Chiwaya

    viva Barca Viva

    December 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  54. Arafat Tjirongo

    I think the question we should ask is: What makes a player the best?
    Is it skills or influence on a team?
    Messi is no doubt the most talented player I've ever seen. Surpassing Maradona and the rest. But i think Xavi deserves to win it this year. Not just for winning everything, but for his contribution to the game of football. for being consistent for as long as i can remember. its a joy to watch him play.
    Synejder, forlan, ibra are no where near this league.

    December 7, 2010 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  55. alehandro

    Xavi's as good a candidate as anyone for the title. But who cares? World Player of the year in a team sport makes no sense. Can Xavi play right back or in goal? Even a collective team of the year award doesn't make sense as the voters are no position to judge the effectiveness of individuals over the whole season. Now club team of the year would be a valid award, and Xavi wouldn't be in it this year as that team was clearly Inter.

    December 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  56. almond94

    For me, I am happy with anyone who wins it except for that no.9 in Real Madrid. He's too much of himself, and I think Xavi deserves it after the amount of contribution he has given to Barcelona. I don't mind Messi winning the Ballon D'or too but Xavi should get it🙂

    December 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  57. robert kago,kenya

    Iniesta is my choice for the award,considering his winning goal at the world cup final.However,Messi and Xavi have also done incredible job for Barcelona last season.

    December 7, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  58. Aggrey,Raymond , Tanzania

    I think openly and truly that Xavi is just the best in dat list, he has been the main mastermind behind Barcelona success. So i go for the magnificent Xavi!

    December 7, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  59. Mohammed tafida

    FIFA again, what is the cirteria fro the selections? if it is world cup messi not qualified, if it is champions leaque, messi not qualified, if it is copa america, messi not qualified cus he won non of the above competition, so which is the new cirteria now for the selection.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  60. Reagan

    We all know Barcelona is the best team in the world with Messi, Xavi and ineista much like how the chicago bulls were of the 90s with Michael jordan, scottiie pippen and horace grant.

    But pound for pound, on any given day, playing for any team in the world, it cannot be determined who is the best footballer as they have not played in another team or coached another team.

    Which brings us to the obvious truth, mourinho is the worls best coach and cristiano ronaldo the worlds best player because they have teams from inception and make winners out of team. No one could say otherwise because the facts are undeniable.

    Without them to beat on that 5-0 trashing, the Barcelona guys are very good at best but the best of the best, in my books, are the ones who suffer defeat and rise again like Mohammed Ali.

    If these guys can stand up and be counted like this then they will earn my respect.

    As far as it goes, they will always be barcelona boys and not real men.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  61. dammy

    everybody know the three of them are very good player, but for this year award, xavi what it in short..

    December 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  62. ONYANGO DANIEL GIGOT

    I preffer XAVI he the man to watch, he's an outstanding player that any fan could love to watch while on the pitch.

    December 7, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  63. Ray

    Great piece! (as usual) Couldn't agree more, Xavi is the best!

    December 7, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  64. Tom

    who cares

    December 7, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Reply
  65. fhuk

    I'm just glad they nominated all Barca players.
    There isn't a better club in the world right now.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  66. abdulaziz

    Messi deserves to be the worlds best player for 2010 , then iniesta and then xavi

    December 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Reply
  67. ib itanyi

    Good piece, Pinto...especially on Zidane whom i consider the greatest player ever. Before FIFA chose the barcelona trio, i'd already choosen Xavi and Iniesta. This is a world cup year, and both won the world cup for spain. So either of the two deserves it.

    December 7, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Reply
  68. Valenciano

    Xavi is the best. It is time we value the mid fielders!

    He has been the brains behind Messi and Villa (now replacing Silva)

    No doubt Messi and Iniesta have talent but Xavi is the more valuable for a team performance.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Reply
  69. seun

    i will like it to be Xavi bacuse no xavi no messi

    December 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm | Reply
  70. Lady

    Definetely Messi..no doubt about it. He is phenomenal. The fact that he is a part of national team that was pathetic at the world cup due in part to the head coach should not influence this. Yes Spain won the world cup and yes Barcelona would not be the same without Xavi but Messi is in a different league of his own.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Reply
  71. free

    The best footballers I ever saw were Ronaldinho and JayJay Okocha. You can bear with me that these two superstars not only played for money but they entertained. They made football the most beautiful game. Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are all fine ballers but they don't have the talent of two football magicians I have mentioned earlier. That is why they are my best heroes of all time.
    But not to annoy the bootlickers of those fine men of Barca, I can say that Xavi could be honoured with that title if not Messi.

    December 7, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  72. .......

    BALE BALE BALE BALE BALE

    December 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  73. Du'yen

    I suppose the author of this article has only been watching La Liga and FIFA.
    How about Thomas Muller? Maybe the author hasn't watched Premier League and Bundesliga.
    He is some kind of biased though.

    December 7, 2010 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  74. Cesiita

    Pedro Pinto, just a fantastic article. i´m a barca suporter and a football lover. For those who don´t think Xavi should won just take a look at any match he plays, just marvelous, doesn´t miss a ball, seems football to be easy, and thats the most dificult thing to do. Let´s enjoy this barca because probably will be a historic team. Just for real football lovers. Personally I have never seen a team playing like this.. 70 % of ball posession, makes the other team go behind shadows (spanish expression). But... Barca y more than a single player, look at Iniesta,Messi, Piqué, Abidal, Alves, etc, etc these playes enjoy playing in barca and not all players enjoy playing in their teams and that is something that can´t be paid for us. Thanks Pep, thanks Johan!!

    December 7, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Reply
  75. Zidane

    Kids, Zidane is the best football player in history, no pele, no maradona. NO ONE CAN BE COMPARED TO THE KING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Reply
  76. nipple

    have we forgotten about ronaldo?

    December 7, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Reply
  77. peter

    so it appears that all the best are mexican

    December 7, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Reply
  78. srinivas

    Messii is the best !!!

    December 7, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Reply
  79. doesntmatter

    This gotta be a joke. Where the hell is Sneijder? Barcelona... money won again!

    December 7, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Reply
  80. Michael

    the fact of the mater is that if you took messi, xavi, or iniesta and place them on another team, they would not be nearly as good as they are now, the only reason they are considered the best is because they play well together on barca, and for xavi and iniesta on spain. A player like ronaldo, who has proven he his a true individual player and has been just as successful as messi (by far barca's best player) has played on two teams and has still kept his form. A real example of how messi is not the best player is when he plays for argentina, he is no where near the level he is at for barcelona because he doesn't have the supporting cast. Another example would be the 5-0 barca madrid game in which messi did not score, nor did iniesta, and 4 of the goals came from players who arent the best players. these three players are overrated and because 2 of them (xavi and iniesta) have never played on a team where they themselves as individuals are the heart and sole of the team, xavi and iniesta work well together and that is their strength as a duo. As for messi, his form is amazing for barca, but suffers from a poor and selfish supporting cast for argentina, proof that if her were to play for another club team, he would not even be in the same stratosphere as he is now in catalonia

    December 7, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Reply
  81. Adrian

    Frank, who's Messi ?, where have you been ?, any way I will be happy for any of the 3, they are all far from the rest.

    December 7, 2010 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  82. Andres

    I don't mind if Xavi wins it, but the fact is that Messi is the best. Just think of it this way: you've just been handed a magic wand and with it you are allowed to take any player in the world and put them on your team for 1 year. Who do you take? I'd be surprised if less than 90% chose Messi.

    December 7, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Reply
  83. Themo

    You're right that Xavi is one of the best in the last 5 years but not in the last season 2009/2010. The most influintial player to his team is Wesley Sneijder. He led his team to win three champions as well as his national team to the final.
    Maybe he is not the best but surely he benefited his team to a great achievement.

    December 7, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  84. Anonymouse

    Emmit Smith. Hand down.

    December 7, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Reply
  85. Jamil

    I heared about Maradona and Pele. But i never saw them playing in real time match i was thinking how these legends would be looked or felt by people. Say how the legends look like. When i saw Messi playing, now i say the legends are like Messi.

    December 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  86. Edu Rico

    Estilo Barcelona, the best no doubt

    December 7, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Reply
  87. Steven

    This is a great, however short, list of players but one thing bothers me; I can't believe that Diego Forlan was not nominated. Not only has he helped Atletico Madrid immensely, but it can be argued that he carried Uruguay on his back throughout the entire World Cup. I think that he should win his honor, or at the very least, he should have been nominated.

    December 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  88. Wes

    Xavi really deserves the recognition because neither Spain nor Barcelona would not be able to do what they did and have been doing without his utter BRILLIANCE in the Midfield.....

    December 8, 2010 at 12:47 am | Reply
  89. Ray

    69 goals! what are you guys thinking about? if xavi was from another country then not too many people would be voting for him! Messi is the only one that shuold win this!

    December 8, 2010 at 12:58 am | Reply
  90. Ray

    forgot to ask, is Pedro from Spain?

    December 8, 2010 at 12:59 am | Reply
  91. Avare Joe

    Sorry but this short list it's ridiculous . What about the Big talent Sneijder ? He had thoroughly deserved to be in this list.He indeed must be the winner of the Balon d'Or. He bring his team FC Inter to win the European Champions League, Italian League and Italian Cup . He together with Robben bring Holland national team scoring four goals to final of the World Cup . All this in the same year playing an eccellent football .Last season Messi has won what? No champions leauge , out in World Cup playing really bad.Big talent but not enough to win or to be this year in the short list . The Balon d'Or is awarded always for those who have done an excellent season and won cups with his teams .Something strange happened this year. Shame on who prepared this short list.

    December 8, 2010 at 1:00 am | Reply
  92. Isaac

    well written article.Xavi truly deserve this award for his true creativity and inspiration when he is on the field.

    December 8, 2010 at 2:08 am | Reply
  93. kanchanjung tiwari

    It was during 2009 season of spanish la liga,copa del rey n champions league barca swept all tophies.I had an experience dat i had bad exam and so da result n i was un happy.These three dude n oder remaining are dose who kept me smiling all over da year.Not only me dey brought smiles in face of all barca and football fans all over the world.They always makes us happy.Either the el classico or champions league victory againt chelsea dey r superb.As far messi did nt scored da goal in 2010 world cup he had all togeder 16 shots to the post.a good fan should undstand dat only scoring is nt evething there should be a beautiful game too so dat we cant sit on sofa n watch it but in case of messi we cant see any match of him just being passive.,I get so excited when he touches ball.Any way trios messi xavi n iniesta r equal to me as a die hard barca fan.When eto n messi scored against man utd in champions final 2009 i sat in a corner n tear rolls down my eye wat a player n wat a club.Lastly i messi etos style n speed in barca.All trios r best for me.Jai barca.I salute the team n coach pep guardiola.Barca barca|

    December 8, 2010 at 4:15 am | Reply
  94. Albert

    Diego Forlan is the best!!!

    December 8, 2010 at 4:46 am | Reply
  95. ONYANGO DANIEL GIGOT

    XAVI is the best

    December 8, 2010 at 5:08 am | Reply
  96. Ghassan

    I think Xavi deserve to be rewarded for his efforts after all he's the goal maker, but also i think that diego forlan should be nominated as well

    December 8, 2010 at 7:25 am | Reply
  97. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Xavi looks good for the prestigious award. Others are not far behind. Their time will certainly come. Who knows when ? May be the hour has come. I'll wait and watch. Best wishes.

    December 8, 2010 at 9:48 am | Reply
  98. Clive Larchmann

    Absolutely rubbish!!!
    What did Messi win last season. No UEFA trophy and was humiliated in the world cup. Make your selection fairly and stop making something out of nothing. Give the opportunity to every player.

    December 8, 2010 at 11:49 am | Reply
  99. Rami Amr

    messi is the worlds best footballer.

    December 8, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  100. Kevin O

    That Xavi deserves the award is in no doubt. Great player, playing for a great team (Barcelona).

    I cannot speak of comparing him to Zidane, simply because I quite never saw Zidane playing per-se.

    I would however prefer to have an award for the best team in the world as opposed to the best player, because an individual player never won a sccer match. Of course, such an award would curently go to Barcelona.

    Nevertheless, congratulations to Xavi for a job well done.

    December 8, 2010 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  101. suniel

    might be xavi win the title for him effort

    December 9, 2010 at 4:51 am | Reply
  102. lekan nigeria

    it very unfair missing diegoforlan who beautifully well in d worldcup

    December 9, 2010 at 7:06 am | Reply
  103. Naseer Ahlan

    I think xavi is deserve to be the world foot baller of the year, considering the infact he made during the world cup. He assit his country to win the world cup

    December 9, 2010 at 8:37 am | Reply
  104. Raphael

    Xavi is the best among the three. A striker is useless without a good and resilient feeder (midfielder). Xavi has proved to be very effective both at club level and national level. My vote goes to him.

    December 9, 2010 at 9:01 am | Reply
  105. Matt

    for all u Lovers of football on here i will like u to go on youtube and search for Xavi and watch him play. all he does is passing the ball and also giving thru pass. but when we wanna be truthful to ourselves and not liking one player then we need to give Iniesta Or Messi this award Xavi is a Good player but if we want to face the truth then give it to iniesta because he can hold the ball and play with the ball and also pass the ball and not just that he scores the goals just like Messi. so if u truly know football or u play football then watch both of them play i mean iniesta and xavi....then u will understand what am saying....Thanks..Matt

    December 9, 2010 at 9:03 am | Reply
  106. ibrahim basiru

    i believe when diego forlan is not part of the nominies so well LIONEL MESSI deserve it, because my first nominal is folan later wesley senedjer so when they doesn't appear as part of nominies the LEGEND OF ARGENTINA FOR NOW DESERVE IT

    December 9, 2010 at 9:42 am | Reply
  107. ogunsola tayo

    am a big fan of FCBarcelona...but i find it difficult to select one of three phenomenons as world's best...they've been terrific eva since and i think they all deserve the award.....

    December 9, 2010 at 11:03 am | Reply
  108. kaloga abdulai

    i belive xavi should win the world best he prove it in tha la liga last season he help his club to win la lega and all so help his country to win the world cup.he desarved to be crown world player of the year with all this success with is club and country

    December 9, 2010 at 11:17 am | Reply
  109. kasonde

    forlan and sneijder should have been there.

    sneijder won the treble plus reaching the final of the wc

    forlan won the uefa double plus won the golden boot at the wc and he is not the list

    fifa is becoming a joke this is not popularity contest, it avbout a player did during the season and theses players did better than the most esp messi.

    December 9, 2010 at 11:57 am | Reply
  110. REYNOLDS

    NO XAVI NO MESSI,MESSI NEEDS PLAYERS LIKE XAVI TO SHINE .INIESTA IS GOOD BUT XAVI DESERVES TO BE THE WORLDS BEST PLAYER.

    December 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  111. LeRoy S. Nyan

    I think the Barcelona trio deserve the recognition. Messi is indeed the best player in the whole world, but Xavi has remained consistant in his performance since the world cup so, it is understandable why he is considered the favorite for the ballon d Or.
    I have repeatedly read people comments that Messi can not play any where else except in Spain and with Barcelona. That is an unfair thought for anyone to harbor.
    It is common knowlegde that a footballer's performance on his national team is different from that of his club. That is for obvious reasons.
    Team spirit, Unity, coordination and understanding are basic factors which usually impacts a players performance in a game. So there is no way messi can be blamed for not scoring a goal for his country at the 2010 world Cup. There were several lapses in the Argentine team which were visible for all to see.
    However, a victory for either of the FC Barcelona players is a boost not only to the club but the La liga as the best league in the world.

    December 9, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  112. Bill Togba

    Those who will not vote Messi is not a true lover of modernization of football. He is the creator and a sign of the new generation of football. (beauty to the eye)

    December 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  113. Nelson

    hey guys i think Messi is da best dis guy plays 7 star football.

    December 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Reply
  114. Damian

    Xavi is the best I but the list needs help. Robben Should be there also Sneijder. Both Dutch men Was impressive for both club And Country.
    Messi did nothing for his country without Xavi and Andres to help.
    Who is Messi?

    December 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  115. Elvis

    iniesta is the man, messi is good but i ´have a feeling he cant play in another team. a midfield with xavi and iniesta,any good player should do well. C.Ronaldo has proved he can play any where,in England he made record now in spain he is still soaring in goals. Messi should move to a different clud and lets see if he will still remain the Messi he is now. A good example was the last world cup.

    December 9, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Reply
  116. EVANS EHIGIAMUSOE

    these 3 players are very good but we only needed one player for this award.ls not all players that will score or do great things with the ball as the young and little wizard of football Messi,Messi is a genius of the game,so exceptional and he deserve this award,when he won it last year,l told people he will win it again and l believe justice should be done again this time,lmagine the kind of goals he scored,they are fantastic,some are lmpossible in the sight of men.just look how fantastic he was against real madrid recentently,single handedly destroy mourinho and his boys.Messi deserve it again,BRAVO MESSI had argentina had a better coach argentina would have won the world cup,Messi play in mildfield,score goals and is an utility player

    December 10, 2010 at 4:48 am | Reply
  117. prajs

    YA xavi won the world cup but not to forget that spain won because of class player all over the pitch and even in the bench.Not only because of xavi.To win world cup one need a good combination not the great player alone.So every credit should not go to xavi.Looking at the performance of lionel messi last season even in this season he simply outstanding one cant imagine barcelona dominance in the absence of messi even there is xavi or inestia so me its messi deserve to win because players play world cup in every 4 years where as they are involed in club game in almost each and every day.So this perfomance should be taken as base for the selection rather than world cup.If award is given according to the performance of world cupo clearly with no doubt its Wesley Sneijder .

    December 10, 2010 at 4:55 am | Reply
  118. marouane

    even xavi says that sneijder should have won the award. that says enough. sneijder nr 1.....

    December 10, 2010 at 9:07 am | Reply
  119. Kelvin

    Concerning the world footballer of the year issue, is nice to see Xavi, Iniesta and Messi been shortlisted for the trophy, what happen to Diego Foland, Arjen Robben, David Villa and other players that performed excellently in the world, why has fifa choose to merge the world player trophy to the European trophy together, is this a new development from fifa?

    December 10, 2010 at 9:14 am | Reply
  120. laura

    I think that Ibrahim Afellay is the best player on this moment.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:14 am | Reply
  121. Avuwa

    Iniesta should win the price cause of his winning goal which won spain the trophy. messsi is a great player but he needs xavi and iniesta, which was obvious at the worlcup. i believe forlan, wesley and robben should be on the list too, messi may be some other time. you cant compare the world cup to the european cup

    December 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  122. Chibyke

    World football of the year is an annual award. Since it has some criteria of given the award in every world cup year, I think Iniesta who scored the wiining goal of the final or Xavi who was behind all the passes should be given the award.

    December 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Reply
  123. James

    last season was Xavi's poorest for quite a while,he still had a good La Liga season but and had a pretty average WC
    Messi was sensational in La Liga but failed at the WC as well.
    Iniesta was fantastic in both so that's why he got my vote.
    however I think Sneijder and Forlan had better seasons than Messi and Xavi,so poor selection by FIFA

    December 10, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  124. Yohan Orewa

    Much ado about Wesley Sneijder. He's good player no doubt, but I do believe the award does not celebrate only achievements. Yes, Sneijder won the champions league, but Diego Milito's brilliance afforded Inter the victory. Sneijder was in the World cup final and failed to lift his team against the Spaniards.
    Take a Messi out of Barcelona and they score less goals, take an Iniesta and a Xavi out of Barcelona and there is a midfield lack. I will not fault FIFA's selection as they chose players with both excellent individual and team play.
    Personally, I'd pick Lionel Messi for the award. He had an excellent season up front for Barcelona, and played and excellent midfield role for Argentina at the World Cup.

    December 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  125. ravi

    dudes i think Messi the lion should win it. Messi is a grat footballer. True Xavi and inesta are great but they have off days too. And messi when he has an off day, instead of scoring goals he creates them and sets them up for some one else like in el classico. He is not like some arrogant selfish spoilt child. Guess u understood who i am talking about.

    December 11, 2010 at 1:16 am | Reply
  126. michel

    i vote for messi.cause he is the best footballer i've ever seen playing like that

    December 12, 2010 at 7:19 am | Reply
  127. abokyase

    sneider and diego forlan should be on the shortlist commercial interest rules football now

    December 13, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  128. Yaw Owusu-Ansah, Ghana

    SINCERELY, MESSI AND XAVI COULD BE BEST BET, BUT MY OBSERVATION IS THAT, WHILST XAVI AID BOTH GOOD WITH CLUB AND COUNTRY, MESSI SEEMS NOT TO BE TOO GOOD WITH THE COUNTRY. SO XAVI IS A BIT ABOVE MESSI FOR NOW.

    December 13, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  129. kuda

    Xavi is absolutely superb he deserve to be called the best.

    December 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  130. Tadas Abaravicius from Lithuania

    I think that Xavi will take a second place,becouse Lionel Messi is on top of his form! He plays very all last 2 years... So 100% winner is Messi.

    December 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  131. sankung

    the list is a bit unfair i agreed that xavi is the best among the list but sneider should come second after xavi becuz sneider won champion leauge trophy last season and played the world cup final and he is the only player who played both finals beside he had a wonderful season last campagne fifa has to do something about such issues look at messi the only trophy he won only was la liga and for the world cup he went back home without a single goal.and he is among the last three..to scam the best footballers for the whole season you dont have to look at only goals ,performance you should also look at the big trophies how bigger they are to the others respectively ...sneider should be among three ,he deserves........

    December 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Reply
  132. elawure osas

    for me the world best player currently is no other than andres iniesta maybe i think too highly of him but he has the quick feet of messi for goals and the vision of xavi for passes , as for messi he is only good when he plays with the barcelona squad two world is enough to have proven all the crictics wrong and xavi gets furstrated at times and makes mistakes but for iniesta is good for both country and club and is always clam no matter the situation

    December 17, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Reply
  133. sani suraj

    xavi is a great disturbuter of the ball

    December 17, 2010 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  134. Sam

    I Think barcelona all players deserve this award... coz everyone give they more than 100% on pitch ... but xavi the maestro is amazing.. inesta the part of xavi & messi from the another world ..

    December 20, 2010 at 8:40 am | Reply
  135. otkings

    Thierry henry was denied in 2003. 2010 Messi is the man but i think Wesley sneider shud have been in third place instead of Andres Iniesta. The real award shud be in this format.

    1st. Lionel Messi
    2nd. Xavi Hernandez
    3rd. Wesley Sneider

    Take this message to FIFA, Iniesta's name shud be removed and replaced by Wesley Sneider or Samuel Eto'o not Iniesta.

    December 21, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  136. dave

    You are probably right with your analysis. For me, he should win World Best because of the world cup....otherwise a certain Messi is undoubtedly the most gitfed player now.

    December 22, 2010 at 10:48 am | Reply
  137. PERE EXCEL

    I am from PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA i wish to observed that, the next world best footballer should be given to Iniesta lujan, instead of messi, reasons are, single handedly he scored the only, and most important GOAL in the final match; between Spain and Netherland. For this reason I think he deserve the award of becoming the world best player in 2010/11 season.

    December 22, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  138. Pepe Botawala

    To all those that talk about Messi, Iniesta and Xavi, they all had a good 2010 but Schneider had an AMAZING 2010. If that is not enough i do not know what is. And Stephan (7th Dec) clearly said, Xavi and Messi won 6 trophies in 2009. This is 2010 and Sjneider has 5! So if you want to give a trophy to Xavi for consistency then go ahead, but the BEST player of 2010 is without doubt Wesley Snjeider!

    December 24, 2010 at 11:00 am | Reply
  139. gherie

    I know Pedro, you are a Portuguese and you have a always been un- rational supporter of Rolando, now the reason you are giving your support for Xavi is not because you honestly believe that Xavi is the best, but because you can not help it watching the actual best player, messi, being crowned the trophies. I have been closely following your articles and you never have written yet any good one. I think no one takes you seriously.

    December 25, 2010 at 12:24 am | Reply
  140. Fejiemaks

    Xavi is a very good midfielder with short passes accuracy,and also decisiveness

    December 25, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  141. sandu

    ALL THREE PLAYERS BELONG TO BARCELONA FC, WHICH IS THE BEST CLUB EVER

    January 9, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
  142. Sango Ajibola

    Xavi. If Messi is the Messiah, Xavi is Mary, Mother of God. A beauty to watch – apart from the wonderful passes, I particularly adore the "xavi turn", when in the very middle of the field he waits for a player to come close to his back and then turns 360 degrees leaving the player behind him. It would be unfair were he not to win.

    January 9, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Reply
  143. Christian Schultz

    I think it is much more interesting to find out why FIFA didnt include votes from over 70 countries in the recent vote. Countries like Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Nigeria all filled their votes but they werent counted according to offical FIFA documents (Which I have a copy off and can be found on FIFA's own website). Both Ireland and Denmark's football associations have demanded a full enquiry.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:01 am | Reply
  144. prince waliu adesanya hassan

    i went messi to be the world best

    August 29, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply

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