1. Lionel Messi

Barcelona's diminutive forward Lionel Messi may looked to have enjoyed a quieter year than usual by his remarkable standards on the surface, but still smashed in 38 goals in 36 games in a title-winning campaign.

Messi scored a quite incredible 46 goals as Barca marched to a record points haul in La Liga last season, following that up with 14 in 16 so far this term in a campaign currently curtailed by injury.

The Argentine international could surely cement his status as the game's greatest player with success in 2014, as a date with destiny at the World Cup finals awaits next summer in South America.

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