By Manuel Traquete
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past two years, you’re certainly aware that Barcelona currently possess the three best football players in the world: Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andrés Iniesta. This fact was finally officially recognized and on January 10 Barcelona will become only the second team, after Arrigo Sacchi’s AC Milan, to take all podium positions in the Ballon d’Or.
La Masia might also become the first academy to produce two different Ballon d’Or winners (if Xavi or Iniesta win), after Sporting Clube de Portugal’s academy, who produced both Luis Figo (2001 winner) and Cristiano Ronaldo (2008 winner). La Masia will also become the first academy ever to produce all three Ballon d’Or finalists.
These three brilliant players have been absolutely instrumental to Barcelona’s success in recent years. After all, having all three best players in the world can only mean success for a club. Led by these three magicians, Barcelona won a historic and unprecedented sextuple in 2009 and has captured eight trophies in the past 20 months. The blaugrana side did all this while playing some of the best football the world has ever seen, a football of such beauty that many pundits claim that this Barcelona team is the best club side of all-time (or at least up there with the best). Xavi, Iniesta and Messi are the very own heartbeat of this amazing team: their importance is highlighted by the fact that, under Pep Guardiola, Barcelona have never lost a match when all three started at the same time! Xavi and Iniesta pulling the strings and Messi annihilating defenses make