Lionel Messi – number one.
When Lionel Messi looks back on 2010 he’ll struggle to remember all the honours and praise lavished upon him, and now he has the number one spot in the BPF’s Top 50 Players in the World to top it all off. We were unable to get in touch with Lionel in time, but there’s a shiny trophy on route to the Camp Nou as we write this.
Messi was in devastating form throughout the 2009/10 season as Barca won the La Liga with a record 99 points. In total, the striker helped himself to 47 goals in all competitions which secured both the Pichichi award for top scorer in the league as well the European Golden Boot. Of those 47 goals only four were not from open play.
In April he scored four goals in a match for the first time as Barca destroyed Arsenal 4-1 at the Camp Nou in the Champions League quarter-final second leg, a devastating performance that will go down as one of the greatest individual shows in Champions League history.
“He’s like a PlayStation,” said Wenger of Messi after that game.
“I think he can take advantage of every mistake you make. Barcelona are a very good side but of course they have Messi who can make the difference at any moment in the game. He is very young but he can achieve a lot – there are not many players who can score four goals like he did.”
Unfortunately his World Cup wasn’t as spectacular as many of the other names featured on this list. Lionel failed to find the net, but was still an important component to the Argentinian attacking team. It soon got to a matter of ‘when’ rather than if, but a World Cup goal was not to be by the time Diego Maradona’s men had been knocked out resoundingly by Germany in the quarter finals.
Messi started the 2010/11 campaign just like he had finished the previous season, bagging a hattrick in his first run out as Barca destroyed Sevilla 4-0 in the Supercopa de España. It was certainly a sign of things to come, as Messi looks for more silverware in Catalunia.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet, Messi was an integral part of the team which destroyed arch rivals Real Madrid in El Classico in November. Just as the Arsenal game mentioned above, this was a truly devastating performance that will live long in the memories of both sets of fans, for different reasons. Lionel constantly dropped deep to pick up the ball before instigating attack after attack, and claimed a pair of assists for David Villa’s brace. The second assist was particularly pleasurable, as he put his Spanish teammate through on goal with a beautiful defence splitting pass.
The ever knowledgeable and entertaining OptaJoe reported in early December that up to that point Messi had scored a goal every 75 minutes and 23 seconds for Barcelona in all competitions in 2010.
As of 20 February 2011, Messi has scored 41 goals in just 36 games this season, and also has 20 assists to his name.
Below is a list of Messi’s personal honours for 2010:
- FIFA World Player of the Year
- FIFA Team of Year
- European Footballer of the Year – Ballon d’Or
- Onze d’Or
- UEFA Champions League Player of the Year
- UEFA Champions League Forward of the Year
- UEFA Champions League Top Scorer
- UEFA Team of the Year
- La Liga Player of the Year
- La Liga Striker of the Year
- La Liga Foreign Player of the Year
- La Liga Ibero-American of the Year
- FIFPro World Player of the Year
- FIFPro World XI
- FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball
- Argentina Player of the Year
- Pichichi of the year 2009-2010
- European Golden Boot 2009-2010
So there you have it, the final piece in BackPageFootball’s Top 50 puzzle. Was Messi’s position at the summit ever really in doubt? As much as many would like to have seen Xavi receive the top spot, voting proved that the majority of football fans just can’t comprehend looking beyond the little Argentinian. NOW, Lionel Messi is officially the greatest player of 2010. Ballon D’one.