clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Making a Case for the other Barça Players

New, comments

While Messi is obviously one of three frontrunners for the 2013 Ballon d'Or, it's interesting to look at the other Barcelona players who've made the shortlist and argue their case whilst also looking at possible reasons why they won't win the award.

David Ramos

Let's start with Andrés Iniesta, a man who has previously finished second in the Ballon d'Or race behind his teammate Messi and finished third last year. Iniesta continued to stake his claim as one of the greatest midfielders ever during 2013, helping Barça regain the league title from Madrid and setting a record points tally in the process. He racked up a total of 18 assists for Barcelona in all competitions and scored six goals himself. Iniesta's real skill is the calmness he always shows on the field, and it is this cool-headedness that allows him to dictate play at ease.

Iniesta is also a huge part of the Spanish national team, helping them to reach the final of the Confederations Cup before being beaten by Neymar's Brazil. The playmaker has become an ever present for Spain just as he is for Barcelona and it is very rare to see a football fan who can't help but admire Iniesta.

But this season started with Iniesta not at his best as he took time to adapt to the more direct approach of Tata Martino. With a player as good as Iniesta, it wasn't in doubt that he'd find his best from again but this relatively slow start will hurt his chances for this year's award.

Next up is Iniesta's midfield partner, Xavi. Before the start of this season, there was speculation the 33 year old veteran would see less playing time, but Xavi has currently started ten games making him the joint fourth starter. Putting an end to any discussion that Xavi might be past his best years. The midfielder has also found a scoring boot this season, putting two goals away already compared to the seven total goals he netted last campaign. While his passing remains the pinnacle of his game.

Xavi's 2012-13 season was also a great success. Winning his record seventh league title while hitting the 600 appearances mark for his boyhood club. Xavi has been an ever-present for Barcelona in recent years and early signs of this season suggest he will be for a long time yet.

But with the goalscoring form of Messi and Ronaldo, Xavi doesn't often grab the headlines which will distract the voters' eyes from the Barça number six.

The final nominee is Neymar. The summer signing that put an end to almost three years of speculation. Before he arrived in Catalonia, the Brazilian was described as the "YouTube kid" and many pundits and fans alike were quick to dismiss him as one of the best players on the planet, predicting him to be more of a problem for Barcelona then an asset.

His relationship with Messi was a key talking point, with Johan Cruyff stating that a boat can only have one captain. But Neymar was quick to learn the Barcelona way both on and off the field. Praising Messi as the greatest ever and focusing more on the team's benefit then his own personal benefit. He had to adapt to seeing less of the ball then his time at Santos and working harder defensive wise, but Neymar has relished this opportunity and shown why he deserves to be on this list.

With Messi's injury, it is likely to be a key period for Neymar and he will be eager to step up to the plate. Four league goals and seven league assists show promise and every Barça fan will be hoping Neymar becomes one of the greatest at the Catalan club.

His Confederations Cup triumph with Brazil won't go unnoticed but it will take another year of consistent good performances for Neymar to be truly considered a contender.

For this year's award it is hard to look past Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribéry but I think each Barcelona nominee can be hopeful for a place in the team of the year.