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As with every year since FIFA swallowed the Ballon d’Or award, we’re givne 23 players who supposedly were the best this past year in the football world. Playing for Barcelona automatically qualifies you for the list, being on Real Madrid never hurts either and the rest is more about being on a big club than actually playing well. Either way, Lionel Messi wins in the end.

So who do we have? Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique and Eric Abidal from Barcelona. From Real Madrid – Cristiano Ronaldo, Iker Casillas, Xabi Alonso, Mesut Ozil and Karim Benzema. The Rest – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Samuel Eto’o (Anzhi Makhachkala), Diego Forlan (Inter Milan), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Nani (Manchester United), Neymar (Santos), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Wesley Sneijder (Inter).

First of all, there’s no chance Lionel Messi doesn’t win the award. Why? That’s life right now, and FIFA and UEFA are pretty predictable when it comes to awards. But some of the players on this list, and some off it. First of all – Why have only one keeper?  Manuel Neuer deserves to be here just as much as Casillas, and so does Hugo Lloris of Lyon, and so does Victor Valdes. Iker Casillas hasn’t had such a good year.

Fabregas? DIEGO FORLAN?! Wesley Sneijder?! Where are the Porto players, who did win “only” the Portuguese league and the Europa League, but ramapged through every opponent with style and falir. Surely Hulk and Falcao deserve a shot, right? No one from Dortmund? No one from AC Milan? Are you saying Zlatan Ibrahimovic shouldn’t be at least a candidate for player of the year?

And what about Nemanja Vidic, or Robin Van Persie? Vidic was United’s best player during the previous season and anytime he’s actually fit enough to step on the pitch. Van Persie just can’t stop scoring.

It’s OK that Barcelona and Real Madrid dominate the charts, although we could do without Karim Benzema and Fabregas. Still, the world is made up of more than these two teams. And why do we need 23 nominees again?