So, for the second year running, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has been crowned World Player of the Year, but the Argentine’s victory has caused discontent back in Spain with many expecting the newly-created FIFA Ballon D’Or trophy to end up in the hands of Andres Iniesta or Xavi.
Spain’s World Cup victory in South Africa coupled with Barcelona’s La Liga success had looked like it was a fore drawn conclusion that the winner would be one of Andres Iniesta or Xavi, who played pivotal roles in both.
However, it was Messi who came out on top, polling 22.65% of the votes compared to Iniesta’s 17.36% and Xavi’s 16.48%. A decision, which hasn’t gone down well in Spain, where many expected Iniesta or Xavi to become the country’s second winner of the World Player of the Year prize after Luis Suarez won the Ballon D’Or in 1960.
Here’s how the Spanish media took the result:
“The Spanish players were left without any reward after having won the same as Messi as well as an insurmountable World Cup” Daily newspaper La Gaceta
“Gold for Messi and disappointment for Spain. Messi and Mou leave the ‘Roja’ heroes without the Ballon d’or” sports daily AS
“FIFA scorns the world champions and leaves Xavi and Iniesta and del Bosque without a prize. Without a doubt Spanish football is the big loser of this edition” sports daily newspaper Marca
“FIFA has disrespected the champions of the world… The judges ignored the World Cup and chose Argentina (22%) over Iniesta (17%) and Xavi (16%).” ABC sports paper
It’s fair to say that the Catalan press had a slightly different slant on proceedings, with El Mundo Deportivo salivating over the fact that Messi had now his second World Player of the Year gong at the age of 23, while the cover of Sport exclaimed “Gold for Messi, glory to the club.”
Watch Messi receive the award below.
Don’t forget to grab the latest issue of FHM, which costs just £2.90, if you buy it online by clicking FHM Bionic, where you can read more about the new Ballon D’Or winner!
Lionel Messi talks exclusively to FHM about his training programme and what it takes to become the best footballer in the world. Find out what a typical Barcelona training session involves and what skill exercises Messi undertakes to ensure he’s always at the top of his game.