Is La Liga really as good as the FIFA World XI suggests?
All the talk was of Lionel Messi and the FIFA World XI last week, but not for reasons that some may expect
First of all, I congratulate Lionel Messi on his fourth, yes fourth, Ballon d'or. He is a truly magnificent footballer and he fully deserves his golden ball.
I must admit, I did enjoy Cristiano Ronaldo's face when Messi was announced as the winner.
The FIFA/FIFPro World XI however, is a different story. All 11 players that were voted to be in the squad play in La Liga and ten of them play for either Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Out of the whole world (admittedly some countries may not even care about football) they chose all the players from the Spanish league.
Don't get me wrong, the La Liga is a great league that contains unbelievable talent but its a shame that this prestigious award goes only to those who play for such dominant teams in the league.
Last season, if any team apart from Atletico Madrid beat them, it was a huge shock. The Premier League has so much talent to offer on the world stage and yet no one from any league outside of La Liga gets a whisper of a mention.
Let’s take Chelsea for an example; beating all odds to win the Champions League, and beating Barcelona in the process, I may add. Ashley Cole was one of the main reasons why the Champions League trophy is currently sitting in the Stamford Bridge trophy cabinet.
He was absolutely astonishing, fending off the likes of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and Andres Iniesta on numerous occasions. And yet, Marcelo gets ahead of him. How does that work? Do people simply refuse to see the talent that thrives in England?
Pirlo is another, strong example; the 33-year-old Italian playmaker won Serie A and the Player of the Year award with Juventus, as well as captaining Italy to the final of Euro 2012.
He tore England to shreds in the knockout stages – that cheeky penalty being the highlight of the quarter-final encounter.
The people that got into the World XI before him were Xavi, Iniesta and Xabi Alonso. They actually won the Euro 2012 tournament and I am pretty sure that Pirlo would be in the squad if he was playing for Spain on that day.
I believe that most, not all, of the 50,000 that voted for the squad were looking extensively at the La Liga, failing to do a similar amount of analysing in other countries.
There is no doubt that the current World XI is full of remarkable footballing talent but others, elsewhere in the world deserve it better.