The Best Player in the World is No One You’ve Ever Heard Of
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. TotalBarca just compiled a short list of the votes placed for the FIFA World Player of the Year 2009 (full list) – I’ve copied the first 8 rows here. The rules were, basically, that only national coaches and captains could vote, and they couldn’t vote for countrymen (thus Mascherano cannot vote for Messi, for example.)
Notice anything weird?
VOTES BY CAPTAIN
Country Player 1st 2nd 3rd
Argentina J.Mascherano M.Essien S.Gerrard T.Henry
Australia L.Neill Xavi L.Messi F.Torres
Belarus A.Hleb Invalid vote L.Messi A.Iniesta
Belgium T.Vermaelen S.Gerrard L.Messi J.Terry
Brazil Lucio D.Drogba S.Eto’o Z.Ibrahimovic
Bulgaria D.Berbatov L.Messi C.Ronaldo F.Torres
Cameroon S.Eto’o L.Messi A.Iniesta Xavi
Cote de Ivoire D.Drogba S.Eto’o L.Messi F.Torres
I do. Belarussian Aliaksandr Hleb apparently thought the best player in the world was someone from his own country- a worthy sentiment, indeed, but an invalid one given the voting rules. Also given the fact that he is easily the best known and probably the best Belarussian player in the world, is it possible that he could have voted for himself? Now that’s something one would expect of Cristiano Ronaldo, but…Hleb?
I know who’d love this….Isaiah of the fantastic BFB! I strongly urge any reader to click on that link and see the picture that perfectly sums up this scenario for FIFA (too much respect to simply pull it here.) But I will use a BFB (TM) phrase:
YOU HAVE JUST BEEN HLEBBED!
Note: All due respect to Hleb, though. I greatly admired his play at Arsenal and was excited when he joined Barca last year – for a mixture of reasons, it didn’t work out, to the detriment of essentially every party involved. Whattapity.
By the way, just because I want to have a picture in this post and just because this picture rocks: