Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez Creus and Andres Iniesta were the three players shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award that goes to the best footballer in the world for 2010. The award is a joint effort from both the FIFA World Cup and the Champions League and domestic league competition from 2010. All three men selected for the final award ceremony play for the same Barcelona squad and two of the three played on the winning Spanish La Furia Roja team from this summer’s World Cup.
Of the three finalists the biggest name Lionel Messi is the least likely to win this year. Although Messi eclipsed 40 goals in all league competitions last season for Barca, his summer with Argentina was cut short by an embarrassing route at the hands of Germany in the quarterfinals. Messi, the winner of the award last season, will likely be outstaged by his two unselfish league teammates of Xavi and Iniesta. Xavi is considered the best midfielder in the world by many critics and is one of the best passing footballers around today. Iniesta is similar to Xavi in many regards including unselfish play, but is now most well known for his World Cup winning goal in extra time to take home the title 1-0 over the Dutch.
One name that is missing from the list and shouldn’t be is the Inter/Dutch sensational attacking midfielder Wesley Sneijder. Sneijder had way too great of a first year with Inter not to get the bid and he also was critical in that nearly historic World Cup run by the Netherlands. No player should fall this far down the list just because their squad lost one single game especially considering their effort in a historic treble winning season. Sneijder was certainly one of the three best of 2010 and deserved the attention by receiving a bid to join Xavi and Iniesta.
Sneijder’s boss Massimo Moratti, president of Inter, said on the club’s official website:
I find it very unfair. Sneijder had a phenomenal year, won everything he could have won. For me he deserved the Ballon d’Or. It seems unfair the award is to be given to someone who, although a great player, didn’t have the same level of performance throughout the year.