At 23-years-old, Lionel Messi is not even in his prime yet but the Argentina and Barcelona forward won his second straight FIFA Golden Ball award on Monday as the world’s best footballer of 2010 in Zurich Switzerland at the league’s annual ceremony.
Messi finished ahead of fellow Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez. Messi helped his team lead the standings and once again retain its Spanish league title.
"It’s a very special day for me," Messi said through a translator. “I didn’t expect to win it today.”
Messi is known for his ball handling as well as his ability to score, finishing the year with 58 goals. In 15 games with Barcelona this season, Messi scored 18 goals and finished with 18 assists. He also has the ability to be incisive and is one of the best at being able to run with the ball.
While it was not even close that Messi was the best was in club play, he had a disappointing stint in last summer’s World Cup in South Africa where he failed to score a single goal. The second and third place finishers were on Spain and were big pieces to the country’s first ever World Cup win.
The original ballot featured 23 players but Messi won with 22.7 percent of the votes, which are cast by coaches and captains of national teams plus journalists invited to the ceremony. Iniesta finished second with 17.4 percent and Xavi received 16.58 percent to finish third for the yet another year.
In the 20-year history of the award, Barcelona has produced eight winners. Besides Messi’s two, he follows former Brazilian internationals Romario (1994), Ronaldo (1996 and ’97), Rivaldo (1999) and Ronaldinho (2004 and ’05).
Messi is still young and has plenty left in the tank. We would not be surprised if he takes home this award at least once more before the end of his career. One thing is for sure, it is not even close as to who the best football player in the world is right now – it’s Lionel Messi!