This post, written by Richard Anderson, is republished with permission from The Spoiler. Go there often if you like soccer stuff.
For the past few years, Spain have been less like a Juggernaut, crashing through everything with an irresistible force, and more like a slinky, sexy little motorbike, sliding through the tiniest of gaps with speed and grace — almost exactly like that bit in Britney Spears's "Toxic" video when she's riding all sexy-like with a topless man.
Anyway, their ability to win deserted them last night at the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich, where Lionel Messi beat the tiki-taka orchestrators Xavi and Andres Iniesta to win Men's Player of the Year.
There can be no denying that Messi has been absolutely, breathtakingly brilliant at times (Arsenal fans will probably remember) but The Spoiler would quite like to have seen Xavi pick up the award.
We can only assume the panel of international managers, captains and journalists were torn between Xavi and Iniesta, splitting their vote in the same way that Bob Dylan fans can never decide on his best record in ‘Best Ever Album' polls. Do you go for Blood on the Tracks? Highyway 61 is pretty good, oh, and Blonde on Blonde… Sod it, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? it is.
There was also a bit of disappointment for Glentoran striker Matty Burrows whose flying-back-heel- pirouette-volley was beaten by Turkey's Hamit Altintop (see above). Again, The Spoiler would liked to have seen Burrows win — where's your sense of romance, voters?