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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

No M(essi)take about it, He’s the best in the World, Again.

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has become the first player to win the Ballon d’Or award on four occasions, beating out Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta. The 25-year-old Argentina captain was handed the prestigious FIFA prize in Zurich for a stunning 2012 in which he surpassed Gerd Muller's 40-year-old record with 91 goals in a calendar year over 69 matches, including losing a number of matches due to injury. Only France's Zinedine Zidane and Brazilian Ronaldo have had their hands on the trophy three times. It was also the sixth consecutive year that Messi had made the final three - voted by selected international journalists, football coaches and captains. Mesi is now FC Barcelona’s all-time scoring leader, breaking the record with a hat-trick against Granada, and 14 goals in the 2011-12 Champions League broke the mark he had shared with former Manchester United striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy. In May, Messi beat former Bayern Munich striker Gerd Mueller's record of 67 goals in a single European season, eventually finishing the campaign with 73. Messi’s greatness is scary no doubt about it, and at 25 he could repeat the feat again next year as both his club side and country are stacked with players that demand respect of their own which could continue to open things up for Messi on the pitch. However what may be even more scary is the 2012 FIFA-FIFPro world all-star team, voted by more than 50,000 players, which was comprised of players of from only 3 countries (one from Colombia and Portugal respectfully), if this is a trend then things do not bode well for the rest of the world come World Cup 2014. Understandably, there has been a bit of a backlash as many can make a case for some of those excluded such as Drogba, Djourou, RVP, Mata, etc. The question is what kind of year will it take for someone to break through and not only knock Messi off the perch but pierce the triad vail? The EPL has had strong Champions League showings over the last two, but do they need to make a deeper run in the World Cup to warrant a bigger impact? We’ll see but here is the 2012 roster, let us know if you agree with the selections. Whom would you replace? Who got snubbed? The 2012 FIFA-FIFPro world all-star team Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid and Spain) Defender: Daniel Alves (Barcelona and Brazil) Defender: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain) Defender: Gerard Pique (Barcelona and Spain) Defender: Marcelo (Real Madrid and Brazil) Midfielder: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid and Spain) Midfielder: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain) Midfielder: Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona and Spain)

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