Having won five out of six trophies in 2011 it was no big surprise that FC Barcelona should dominate the Fifa Awards this year. Leo Messi was the obvious star of the night picking up his third consecutive Ballon d’Or becoming only the fourth player in history after Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco Van Basten to win the award three times. Xavi and Iniesta also made The Top Five which this year was Messi, C. Ronaldo, Xavi, Iniesta and Wayne Rooney.
Messi’s dominance in the sport is without doubt and Johan Cruyff’s affirmation that Messi could go on to win seven Ballons d’Or seems are real possibility if we remember Messi’s age. At 24 he should be nearing his peak, he has progressed every year, and as he seems to take perfect care of himself there is no reason, barring some horrible luck, why we shouldn’t continue to enjoy the marvellous abilities of this young man at the highest level for at least another five or six seasons. I had to stop writing after I finished that last sentence just to stop and dream about what he might be capable of doing if things continue to go well for him. However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, even, heaven forbid, if he never scored another goal in his life, Messi at 24 has already earnt the right to be considered by many, myself included, to be the Greatest Footballer of all Time.
But it wasn’t just about Messi tonight. Pep Guardiola won the Best Coach Award for the second time beating Sir Alex Ferguson, who was awarded the Fifa Presidential award, and José Mourinho to the prize. Guardiola’s ability to manage this group of players is vital to our success. He has dazzled us with his tactical changes season after season to stay one step ahead of the rest, while his hard work and dedication are an example to all. He also nearly always keeps a cool head and knows how to deal with the press whether they are with him or against him, leaving a very good image of himself and therefore of the club wherever he goes.
Finally, there were five Barça players in the Fifa Best XI of 2011. The eleven were Casillas, Alves, Piqué, Ramos, Vidic, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Rooney, Messi, Ronaldo. Five Barça, four Madrid and two Man United! Have to say it’s a pretty good team but I can’t for the life of me understand how Sergio Ramos gets in the team. Abidal, Mascherano or Puyol are all better and Thiago Silva and Mats Hummels are just a couple more who I’d rate over Ramos.