Messi voting for the World XI team for FIFA/FIFPro 2012. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Song voting for the World XI team for FIFA/FIFPro 2012. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Xavi voting for the World XI team for FIFA/FIFPro 2012. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Puyol voting for the World XI team for FIFA/FIFPro 2012. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ-FCB.

Leo Messi officially set the voting off for the FIFA/FIFPro 2012 World XI. The currently World Player winner filled in his slip and encouraged all other professional footballers around the world to do the same.

“I have picked my FIFA/FIFPro World XI. Now it’s your turn”, said Messi, his words directed at all professional players around the world.

This has become a traditional annual ceremony for FIFPro. Each year representatives of the union of professional footballers visit the World Player (FIFA Ballon d’Or) and get him to place the first votes for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI. So, for the third year in a row, FIFPro has come to Barcelona to visit Leo Messi.

World XI

This year, FIFPro is distributing 45,000 voting slips around the world. With the help of members of the professional footballers syndicate, FIFPro will be collecting votes from Asia, America, Europe and Africa, whereby each player picks the best goalkeeper, four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards.

The players that get the most votes are invited to be honoured at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich (Switzerland), which this season is in January 7, 2013.

Messi told FIFPro: ‘It is a nice prize because of what it means, the people who vote, who are your own fellow professionals. Somebody they want to be the winner, the person they choose, so that’s why it’s such a special award.’

Voting for fellow pros

‘It is an honour to be chosen by your colleagues as a member of the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, the best team in the world’, said David Villa as he posted his own vote. He has been named in the World XI for the last two years.

Since FIFPro started voting for the World XI, in 2005, FC Barcelona has contributed more winners than any other club. Last year, Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué, Andrés Iniesta, Xavi and Lionel Messi were all named by their fellow professionals around the world. In previous seasons, such other Barça stars as Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto’o, David Villa and Carles Puyol have also featured.

Seventeen members of our squad

On Thursday, seventeen members of the current Barça squad spent a few moments filling in their voting forms for the FIFA/FIFPro World XI, including David Villa, Adriano Correia, Cesc Fábregas, Javier Mascherano, Lionel Messi, Pedro, Xavi, Carles Puyol, Alexandre Song and Sergio Busquets.