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.