Monday, 29 June 2009

Why Lionel Messi Deserves the Ballon D'Or

FC Barcelona's 2008-09 season was the most incredible in their history. They became the first Spanish team to win the coveted treble of the La Liga, Champions League, and Copa del Rey.

While the main reason for their success was that the team gelled together perfectly as a unit, there were over the course of the season many stellar individual performances which helped the team on its way.

The most memorable of these was Andres Iniesta's stunning injury time equalizer at Stamford Bridge that saw Barcelona progress to the Champions League final.

But there was one player who stole the show throughout the course of the season. One little Argentinean wizard, who dominated proceedings from start to finish.

Lionel Messi.

The statistics of Messi’s dominance are staggering indeed. Messi contributed 38 goals with 24 assists in all competitions. That makes him directly responsible for 62 of the team's 156 goals in all competitions. He was also the Champions League's top scorer with nine goals.

But the statistics are not the only measure of Lio's brilliance throughout the season. He has risen to the occasion in almost every big match. In the first El Clasico against Real Madrid at the Camp Nou, Messi was "tactically" fouled throughout the game by a Real team that saw this as the only way to stop him.

But it was Leo who sealed the game with a delicate chip over Casillas' head, which had Cannavaro crashing into the post trying to keep it out.

Against Lyon and Bayern Munich, in the Champions League Round of 16 and quarterfinals respectively, Messi was devastating. In the two home games, Messi scored three goals, and made two assists as Barcelona demolished the French champions 5-2 and the German champions 4-0.

In the second Clasico at the Santiago Bernabeu, Messi was in his element. Shifted to a comparatively unfamiliar role in the centre of the park in order to take advantage of Madrid's comparatively slow central defenders, Messi ripped them apart.

He scored two goals and made one exquisite assist to round off a superb Barcelona performance that saw them run out 6-2 winners.

Against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, as time was running out for Barcelona, it was Lionel Messi who supplied that fateful pass to Andres Iniesta, which Iniesta buried into the top corner to send Barcelona to Rome.

The highlight of the season was the Champions League final in Rome against Manchester United. Many people had billed this as a Lionel Messi versus Cristiano Ronaldo clash. However, when the match started, it was obvious who was in control—Messi.

His dribbling through the centre of the park often forced the Manchester United defenders to foul him in threes and fours. And each time after he was brought down, Messi was first to his feet and ready to run more.

He capped his performance with a superb arching header from Xavi’s cross that left Van der Sar completely stranded and the Manchester United fans looking on in horror. Barcelona won that match 2-0 and consequently, lifted the third trophy to complete their treble.

Other notable performances of his include a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Atletico Madrid, two goals against Racing after coming off the bench to secure a 2-1 victory and the Copa del Rey final, where he scored one goal and made two assists.

In spite of being injured for three months during the 2007-08 season, Messi was the runner-up for the Ballon d’Or. He also ran Manchester United ragged with his thighs heavily bandaged. Unfortunately for him, on that night, he was the only Barcelona player who was in inspired form, and the team was dumped out of the Champions League 1-0 on aggregate.

Argentina coach Diego Maradona has said that Messi is his direct successor. Marcelo Lippi, Jurgen Klinsmann, Guus Hiddink, and even Alex Ferguson have all acknowledged that there is no player like Lionel Messi in the world today.

And the most frightening thing for oppositions is that Messi is only 22 (tomorrow). He has at least 10 more years in front of him at the top level. If the saying that footballers peak between 27 and 31 is true, then Messi is still five years from his peak. Can anyone imagine just how good Messi will be then?

There is no question about who deserves to win the Ballon d’Or award this year. After winning the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey, with a contribution of 38 goals and 24 assists, it would be a major shock if anyone but Lionel Messi lifted the coveted trophy.



Ekar said...

whatever happended to ronaldinho at between 27 and 29? :D lol

Ekar said...

* I mean between 27 and 31 the "peak time"

barca4life said...

Good article nice touch pointing out that messi had the assist at stamford bridge. it would have been nice for you to include a video with some of messi's better moments this season. Great article messi scored the winner against shaktar away in the CL in a crucial game as well where we were trailing 1-0 and he also scored a crucial penalty away to espanol early in the league campaign. The number of amazing moments that he has had this season are too numerous to be listed. The ballon d'or and Fifa POY are messi's

barca4life said...

ronaldinho ended up partying too much ekar. Messi isnt like that. Nice settled lifestyle without all the drama. Good head on his shoulders. He wants to be the greatest ever and at the rate he is going he just very well might be

ej said...


just imagine if messi keep getting better...

last season he was much stronger than the year before imagine how iut will be if he next season get even better :)))

Anurag said...

i agree b4l, but there are no really good quality videos of messi devoted solely to this season. sorry, missed out the shakhtar game, like you said, too many occasions :)

ej said...


i love this video

Carrer de Corsega said...

Also, he came on the field very late against Shakhtar while we were down 1-0 and won the game for us with the two goals he scored. Not a particularly important game, but it was great to watch how much energy he injected into a flat Barcelona team on that day.

And the amazing shot against Osasuna at the end to win that thriller was another highlight of the season for me.

And as for the final game, Messi showed his maturity. It was obvious that the whole Ronaldo vs. Messi argument had gotten into Ronaldo's head because he was trying to do too much on his own right off the bat. But Messi did his duty tactically and eventually it paid off.

Great article; impossible to argue against facts. Numbers are stubborn things!

barca4life said...

oh and lets not forget that he also won the olympic games with argentina this season 4 titles out of 4 for messi

Anurag said...

hehe ej, you proved me wrong in 20 seconds after my first comment :D. nice vid

ej said...

this video copa del rey .

the commentator is so funny , espüecially if u understand arabic :))

ej said...

here are some videos messi with argentina of nice goals somewith cool commentary english / arabic
commentator: How do you describe magic ? how do you describe this .....
(watch it)

messi against france
french commentar start screaming careful careful messi messi :))

Lionel Messi Dribble vs Venezuela

barcalover said...

EJ thanks for that link man im arab and i enjoyed the comentator alot ahaha.. heres a link MESSI 5 years old tearing it up! gotta watch this!

Xaviniesta said...

i'd love messi to win the balon d'or but wouldnt xavi edge him for that having won the euro player of the tournament. i mean messi can still have the WPOTY plus he's young, he can have another shot at it later. xavi needs to be recognized for his greatness too, this might be his only chance.

per said...

The only ones who should be even close to Messi in the Ballon d'Or-vote is Xavi and Iniesta.

shanewhitehouse said...

how come it say bruno alves is joining chelsea look
and were pinto is meant to be on the barca team it says some other name on wiki?

R10FCB said...

if you look at the top of each page on wiki it says "edit this page" allowing people to edit it, there are many people who edit the pages for fun or change it with false information, the bruno alves and pinto will be changed soon.

Don Luis said...

Whats scary is that Messi could had peaked...Messi can get better, stay, or get worse.

Ill take the old ronaldinho any day over messi. Messi is not on R10's level yet. Damn i miss ronnie in a bluagrana.

Anurag said...

@Xaviniesta - No mate, that would have been the reason Xavi was a nominee for last year's awards. If yo notice, last year he was miserable with Barca but because of the Euros, he was nominated. Same with Arshavin. It is true that the Ballon d'Or this year should be given to Messi, Xavi and Iniesta to make things completely fair, but I think Messi has remained in Ronaldive's shadow too long. He needs this award to shut critics up.

@Don Luis - Messi is much better than what Ronaldinho was at his peak. Not just as a player, but also as a person.

Don Luis said...

I followed Ronnie from his PSG days. Ronnie to me is way better then Messi. Messi is 22, who knows what can happen. He can get a injury and never be this years Messi or pretty much have a career ending injury.

ill take Ronnie over Messi anyday.
Ronaldinho- Joga Bonito

BTW Ronnie can do everything. He can strike it from 30 meters or further and make them. His freekicks? yea we all know... Dribbling? what he is known for right?

Ronaldinho is the perfet footballer.

Im a big fan of Messi, but im a bigger fan of Ronnie.

Anonymous said...

i promise in my mothers name if messi doesnt win the ballan d`or then fifa i f*king corrupt

Anurag said...

lol, anony, i fully agree

Xaviniesta said...

@anurag, appreciate ya pointing that out. i'm all for messi winning it of crs, xavi already has my love nway hehe jk :P

ej said...


if he wont win uit will be because of pele.

the jordanian capitan said last year that many wanted to vote for messi and fifa asked them to look at the statistiks and what everybody won.

pele hate messi , and he said before 2 days that CR7 is the best player in the world

Anurag said...

@ej - no one listens to pele anymore, because of his absolute brilliance at making predictions

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