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Hey, when you give out an award for a first time, the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, given to a footballer playing for a football club in Europe that was better than the rest in the previous season, you better get it right. Lionel Messi, to the joy of most of the world, was the right choice.

Manuel Neuer, Gerard Pique, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney, Ramadel Falcao and Andres Iniesta fell after the first round. It was between Xavi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Despite Xavi being considered as the main reason for Messi being this good, despite Ronaldo getting a nice stat bump and boom during the final stages of the La Liga race last year, Messi had his name written all over this award long before last night.

And now, after the strike, a short one in the La Liga (and now changing focus to the strike in Italy), we can have our battle between Messi and Ronaldo, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Mourinho vs the world, while the rest of the league fight from crumbs, once again.

It’s not the best league in the world, its far from the best well balanced league in the world, but it does have the two best teams. Yes, I’d pick, right now at least, Real Madrid over any other team in Europe, except for that thorn in their side for the past three years.

Jose Mourinho is being ridiculous, but we’ve already covered that. That doesn’t mean he’s the most intriguing managerial figure in the world south of Alex Ferguson. Watching him try and work his usual second year wonder while trying to battle windmills and invisible foes should be quite fun. And if he actually succeeds, dethroning Barca and all, something someone told me this week is impossible as long as Lionel Messi breathes and plays for Barcelona, well, no one will able to stop that mouth of his. It’s nearly impossible now anyways.

But we’re about Messi in this one. So he’s got another award, to go with his FIFA Ballon d’Or, multiple La Liga player of the year, Champions League top scorer, Champions League final man of the match and others. That World Cup trophy is still missing. I think he can live with that, for now.