On December 6, 2010, the three finalists for the Ballon d'Or were all trained at Barça's La Masia academy: Messi, Iniesta and Xavi
On December 6, 2010, it was a quiet morning at the Ciutat Esportiva, with Pep Guardiola's Barça preparing to host Rubin Kazan on the last day of the group stage of the Champions League. Then the news broke: the 2010 Ballon d'Or podium would be made up solely by Barça players. Leo Messi, Andrés Iniesta and Xavi Hernández, all trained at La Masia, were the three finalists for the award that recognises the best player in the world.
At the end of the training session, the three of them took a picture for posterity. Messi had completed an excellent 2010 at an individual level, winning the Pichichi, the Golden Boot and the league with Iniesta and Xavi, both of whom had also won the World Cup in South Africa with Spain.
The likes of Sneijder, Forlán and Cristiano Ronaldo, who were possible candidates, didn't make the podium. A few weeks later, on January 10, 2011 in Zurich, the final order of the top three was known: Messi won his second consecutive Ballon d'Or with 22.65% of the votes, Iniesta was second with 17.36% and Xavi third with 16.48%.
Despite it being a decade since that photo, the 2010 edition of the FIFA Ballon d'Or will never be forgotten. It is still the only time that three players from the same team, trained in the academy of that club, have occupied all three places on the podium. A proud moment for all Barcelona fans.
Iniesta, Messi and Xavi with the Ballon d'Or at Camp Nou in 2010.