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PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

Yet another accolade for Josep Guardiola's team at the start of 2012. Three FCB players, Xavi, Messi and Iniesta, top the list of the best playmakers in the world according to the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). Xavi is number one for the fourth consecutive edition.

Members of the media and football experts from 81 countries voted for the impeccable performances of the Barcelona number 6, making him the runaway winner with 232 points, while Messi got 147, and Iniesta 110.

Barça dominant

There is further representation for the club in the form of Cesc Fàbregas, who is tenth with 15 points. That means Barça has no fewer than four players in the top ten, followed by rivals Real Madrid with three – Özil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso.

Xavi and Messi will be presented with awards for finishing first and second in the IFFHS classification at the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2011 ceremony, for which they are also in the running for the player of the year award along with Cristiano Ronaldo, to be held next January 9 in Zurich.

The 2011 classification:

1. Xavier Hernández Creus, 'Xavi' (ESP/Barcelona) 232 points
2. Lionel Messi (ARG/Barcelona) 147
3. Andrés Iniesta (ESP/Barcelona) 110
4. Mesut Özil (GER/Real Madrid) 59
5. Cristiano Ronaldo (POR/Real Madrid) 47
6. David Silva (ESP/Manchester City) 31
7. Wesley Sneijder (HOL/Inter Milan) 22
8. Xabier Alonso, 'Xabi' (ESP/Real Madrid) 19
9. Diego Forlán (URU/Inter Milan) 17
10. Cesc Fàbregas (ESP/Barcelona) 15
11. Andrea Pirlo (ITA/Juventus) 15
12. Franck Ribéry (FRA/Bayern Munich) 10
13. Bastian Schweinsteiger (GER/Bayern Munich) 9
14. Luka Modric (CRO/Tottenham Hotspur) 8
15. Frank Lampard (ENG/Chelsea) 5
16. Javier Matías Pastore (ARG/Paris Saint-Germain) 5

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