The three finalists for the 2013 FIFA Golden Ball were announced on Monday. Leo Messi, winner over the last four years, is once again among the three finalists, confirming a trend that has seen at least one Barça player among the final three for the last seven seasons.
FC Barcelona has an unbroken record of producing at least one finalist since 2007. Indeed, Leo Messi has been a constant presence since he finished third in 2007. He went on to climb to second place in 2008 and has since won the last four years in a row.
But he’s not the only FC Barcelona player to feature in the awards. In 2009 Xavi finished third while in 2010 the podium was 100% Barça, with Iniesta and Xavi finishing second and third behind Messi. In 2011 Xavi finished third again while in 2012 it was the turn of Iniesta.
2006 was the last year that Barça failed to produce at least one finalist for the FIFA Golden Ball. In 2005, it was won by Barça’s Ronaldinho, who also finished third in 2004 behind Deco (second).
In fact, players of FC Barcelona have won the Golden Ball more often than thise of any other club. Apart from the four trophies won so far by Messi, it has also been won by Ronaldinho (2005), Rivaldo (1999), Stoitchkov (1994), Cruyff (1972 and 1973) and Luis Suárez (1960).