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Poll: FIFA Player of the Year

All five finalists announced today are from two clubs in La Liga: Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona), Xavi (Spain/Barcelona), 2007 winner Kaka (Brazil/Real Madrid), reigning holder Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona). The winner will be announced Dec. 21.

Awfully hard not to vote for Messi. Will Insider voters make him a unanimous choice?

By Steve Goff  |  December 7, 2009; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  FIFA , Poll  
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Comments

Meeehhhssi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messs
Meeehhhssi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messs
Meeehhhssi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messi-Messs...

Posted by: Kosh2 | December 7, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

This voting process could get pretty Messi.

Posted by: joedoc1 | December 7, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

hahahahah to joedoc.

Anyways, I voted for Xavi. Why? best passer of the ball in the game. Messi would be nothing without the brilliant vision of Xavi. Barcalona's whole approach is doable because Xavi is unreal on the ball. Just watch him. Honestly. He never gives the ball away.

Also, why does Messi under preform for Argentina? No Xavi. Remember, Ronaldinho once won two world players of the year. I believe he had a certian Xavi operating in the midfield for him too.

Yes, Messi is amazing but we need to understand why he is able to go at players in isolated situations. Again, Xavi.

With that said. Messi is fully deserving of winning the award. Even though, I think Ronaldo is more of a threat because of his physical attributes. No one creates more than Ronaldo. See Sir Alex Ferguson's remarks after Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 7, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I think Iniesta and Xavi are both pretty darn good, but it's hard not to just vote for Messi.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 7, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

anyone but cr. god that guy is irritating (I know that isn't one of the criteria, but it should be).

Posted by: troy6 | December 7, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Anyone not voting for Messi is full of Kaka.

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 7, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Ronaldo iniesta messi kaka - xavi?

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | December 7, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Messi is a great player. Xavi and Iniesta are both better players -- or more fairly, they were this past year. That's usually been the consensus view in groups of Barca fans in and out of Catalunya, and in the comments from players and coaches Barca defeated this past year. Messi scores fantastic goals (as did Eto'o, and as is Zlatan, but not quite as many of course); but Xavi and Iniesta are the engine on which the team runs.

Posted by: christopher_a_metzler | December 7, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Jay DeMerit on the bench for Watford tonight as they play the Greatest Football Club in the World. ;-)

Posted by: Kev29 | December 7, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked, to see that Fredy Montero was left off the list.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 7, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Xavi was man of the tournament at Confederations Cup and man of the match for the Champions League Final. With his tournament mvp from the Euros fresh in my mind, and the fact that he enables Barca to dominate possession and play through the middle as much as they do, I gotta go w/ Xavi.

Posted by: jaycane40oz | December 7, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm leaning towards what christopher_a_metzler said. I really think Barca and Spain's success are more dependent on Xavi and Iniesta than Messi (and Argentina, which I don't recall as having done much this past year).

Those 2 keep Cesc from getting meaningful minutes for Spain, which I think says a lot.

Now, that I'm rambling, I've always wondered what Messi's game would look like if he had to play with a bunch of cloggers rather than the class he has always shared the field with. Could he be as effective? I think not, but how mych less effective?

Is Tevez' time with West Ham a fair comparison? I don't think so, because Tevez is much stronger.

Let's sum up this mess by asking, "How good would Messi, Xavi, or Iniesta be if they played for Blackburn, Rangers, Burnley and the like?"

Posted by: JkR- | December 7, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Interesting question JkR. They would be as good (talented) as they are now, but less accomplished. Because no-one from Blackburn, Rangers, Burnley, and the like is on this list, then accomplishments have a lot to do with it.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 7, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Excellent clarification I-270...

Posted by: JkR- | December 7, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Xavi was not MOT for Confed Cup, Kaka was.

And Dempsey was 3d, even though everyone in the US knows he really su*ks and should be on the US bench behind Freddy Adu and Stuart Holden.

Xavi was not in the top 3 in Confed, and Iniesta sat out the tourney, no doubt because he was scared of the Americans and saw it coming.

Posted by: OWNTF | December 7, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Messi springs forward as if he has a thousand crickets in his pants"

and

"Messi twists his hips like a Turkish stripper"

Two of my favorites from Tommy Smyth who obviously loves Messi. The arguments for Xavi are excellent and this is always the issue with team sports...they require team work. Messi is the top reason that I love watching Barcelona, but there are many more.

Posted by: oldblue1 | December 7, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, shocked, to see that Fredy Montero was left off the list.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | December 7, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse
===============================

He's on the list with CR for "La niña malcriada del ano"

Posted by: OWNTF | December 7, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

wow. all these guys play in La Liga

Posted by: UnitedinTx | December 7, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Translation please.

Posted by: DadRyan | December 7, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

i for one voted for Xavi. Without his distribution, Messi would not be the world class finisher that he is.

Xavi/Iniesta are the best combo one can ask for.

Posted by: UnitedinTx | December 7, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Messi would still be world player of the year if my sorry ass was passing him the ball. Does Xavi personally glue the ball to Messi's golden boots? I think not. It's not even a contest!

Posted by: JRandomReader | December 7, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

JRandomReader, you present a strong case. Surely, no one is arguing Messi isnt good. He is. Though, Messi strives off of being isolated in one on one situations, and getting through ball to finish.

Xavi creates this space with his vision and nasty technique to play perfect passes.

Messi will win the award, but in my philosophical view of football I always hold the passer the the highest prestige. Anybody can get good at dribbling the ball fast at defenders. Xavi is all brains.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 7, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Wow, i'm amazed that so many people put Xavi as well. I hated doing it (voting for any Barca player) but like was mentioned above, Xavi has been the MVP of club and country and both have done well this year because of him. Messi may be the most exciting with the most "talent" but he wasn't the best or most important player to his team (neither club nor country). Its a shame he'll walk away with it. But just as in every other sport, flash is rewarded more than substance.

Posted by: Brian76 | December 7, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Christian Amanpour frightens me.

Posted by: joedoc1 | December 7, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what grubbsbl said. Nice erudition.

And yes, Messi wins, and it's not controversial. But he makes runs for playmakers that a lot of guys wouldn't, because they don't have a playmaker who will even attempt the pass. Likewise, lots of teammates on a lesser team would see Messi in the type of crowd he gets the ball in, and head the other way, anticipating a pending turnover.

The interplay Messi enjoys with his teammates is a real phenomenon.

Posted by: JkR- | December 7, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Iniesta was still the MVP of the latter Champions League games.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | December 7, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

@ grubbsbl -

"Anybody can get good at dribbling the ball fast at defenders." ANYBODY?!?! OK, I'll bite - see EJ. There, it had to be said (Just having a laugh). Seriously though, that statement does Messi's genius and raw God-given talent a termendous disservice.

I see your point, but I have a problem with giving the passer what appears to be close to all of the credit than the finsiher. Beck's can pass a wicked ball, but we all know how many of those passes ended up. My point is, the passer does a decent amount of the work creatig the chance, but the finisher does the real business - and Messi, my friend, is a FINISHER.

Messi's got the brains too. The guy plays chess where many others play checkers. He makes the runs, anticipates the plays and can beat defenders without the ball like few others can. His vision of the field is superb. Plus he can and does create many chances for himself and his strike partners. Dude is fast, crafty, slick and wicked smart. What' smore amazing is that for his dimensions, he is consistently successful for one of the top teams in the world. THE DUDE SCORED OFF OF A HEADER BETWEEN RIO AND VAN DE SAR - enough said...

...and the dude is only like 22. I MEAN 22!!

Messi oozes talent and smarts and is mad fun to watch. He wins this thing running away.

Posted by: Kosh2 | December 7, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much impossible not to award this to Messi. Ronaldo - not this year. KAKA, some good moments, but not great. Messi is just on a different level and will continue to be for quite a few years to come!

Posted by: PremSoccerShop | December 7, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Forgive my misspelling. It's hard to blog enthusiatically while using the ninja technique (I'm at work).

Posted by: Kosh2 | December 7, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I would argue that Xavi plays chess more the Messi. The header was wonderful but watch that goal again. It was an inch perfect pass by Xavi who had to play it over Rio's head and not too close to Van Der Sar. Oh it was also about a 35 yard ball and Xavi was standing still.

The two go hand in hand. I just feel Xavi is better. Plus he has aided two FIFA World Players of the Year now. (Messi is going to win it, and I am not really going to complain.)

I just think Xavi is the class of the world right now.

And EJ seriously. I am talking players with technique, not fast athletes who can kind of kick a ball. There are a lot more players with Messi'skill sets (Robben, Ronaldo, Ribery, Arshavin, Arguero, Robinho, Van Persie, (half the dutch team), etc) than an Xavi. Currently, I don't even know of a passer on the same level. Scholes back in the day, but he is 35 now. Who else controls a midfield with such composure?

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 7, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Its Messi for Me.

Oh, and the Akron coach.

Posted by: JacobfromAtlanta-ish | December 7, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

And no worries on spelling. I hardly re-read my posts anyway.

Posted by: grubbsbl | December 7, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

There's no doubt that Xavi is the engine that fuels both Barca and Spain (and I'm a huge Xavi fan), but Messi is the more complete player. Xavi is a better passer and has better vision, but Messi is no slouch in either of those areas, and he brings finishing ability, quickness, and amazing ball control.

Posted by: Mongoose714 | December 7, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Its going to be Messi.

However, Barcelona last season were able to play effectively with out. When Iniesta was out a few weeks around Jan/Feb, that is when Barcelona had a dip in form and Real was able to close the gap with them.

The Xavi/Iniesta tandem is the motor that keeps Barcelona chugging, when one (or both) of them are not playing (suspension, injury, coach decision) you see a notable dip in quality.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | December 8, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse


UEFA Champions League

http://www.nowgoal.com/22.shtml

Posted by: bgfgf402 | December 8, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

He's on the list with CR for "La niña malcriada del ano"

Posted by: OWNTF | December 7, 2009 3:24 PM
___________________________________________

I don't really know any Spanish, but this is a play on words, depending on whther "ano" is spelled with a tilde, isn't it?

Posted by: universityandpark | December 8, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

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