The FIFA World Player of the Year is the greatest individual honor a footballer can win in the sport. As it is well known, the ’08 award was won by Manchester United’s Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo. After the award presentation, attention shifted to who could win the 2009 FIFA POY Award. Almost immediately, the 1st person that sprung to mind was the 2nd place finisher in 2008, Barcelona’s Argentine stud Lionel Messi.
The brilliant La Pulga is the clear cut favorite to win the ’09 honor and would be the 1st Argentine to win the FIFA World Player of the Year award. Messi is probably going to win and deservedly so after consecutive 2nd place finishes in 2007 & 2008 but I would like to name a new front runner to the award. Its a fellow Culés, he doesn’t score a lot of goals but he is arguably Barca’s most important player and its not who you think I am thinking of.
His name is Andrés Iniesta
He’s not as explosive or dynamic athletically as Lionel Messi but he is just as effective in his position. Iniesta has the best vision on the team and is Barca’s sharpest passer. That’s saying a lot considering that Barcelona has Xavi on its books. Maybe I’m a little drunk from Iniesta’s performance against Sevilla where he was the Man of the Match and single-handedly sliced Sevilla’s defense like a Samurai does an intruder in a 4-0 win that saw Messi on the bench resting.
Iniesta has missed a few games this season due to injury and Barca is not the same team when he’s out. The 2 game losing skid that Barca suffered losing to Espanyol & Atletico Madrid, Iniesta was out for both matches. Even Barca’s 2-0 victory over Real Madrid earlier in the season was sloppy, if Iniesta had played Barca’s possessions would have been cleaner and the offense would have been sharper leading to a larger margin of victory versus Real.
Iniesta is also an underappreciated part of La Furia Roja’s amazing 31-game unbeaten streak. Spain’s national team is a beast right now. However his presence cannot be underestimated, besides name a current Spanish midfielder not named Xavi that’s better than Iniesta. He possesses a deceptive combination of speed, dribbling, patience, hustle, passing, and attitude that has lead to him being called El Anti-Galactico. That’s a compliment.
Andres Iniesta isn’t going to win the Pichichi or Golden Boot but football is a sport where the numbers don’t always measure the greatness or importance of a player. Ask Real Madrid how The Galacticos struggled without Makelele and Hierro. Iniesta is the difference between a possible historic treble and an already seen double.