There was no doubt that Lionel Messi was a worthy winner of the Ballon D’or this week.
Somebody who scores 76 goals in a year deserves absolutely everything they get.
The fact that the rest of the team was made up from La Liga players came as a bit of a shock to me.
There were no players from the English League, nobody from Italy or no feature of Bundesliga players, which was a bit surprising.
If you look at Iker Casillias, he has gone through a season where he hasn’t had a great deal to do. You could possibly put anyone in the Real Madrid and the Barcelona net and they won’t concede many goals.
Up until recently Joe Hart has done well, while Petr Cech did superbly in the Champions League win for Chelsea because they didn’t deserve to win many of their games in the latter stages of the competition.
The Spanish midfielders Xavi and Iniesta obviously deserved to be in because they have been quality, but again, are the Spanish defenders as good as some of the players in the Premiership.
Gerard Pique hasn’t played too much football, but he has been included, didn’t Vincent Kompany do enough during Manchester City’s title push?
The league over in Spain is always so two sided, Real and Barca. Neither side won the Champions League, so do all of these players deserve such acclaim?
La Liga is a good league, but it isn’t the best and there is football outside of it. Some of the leagues in other countries will have to be disappointed with this decision.
The final of the Champions League was between and English League team and a Bundesliga team last season, so surely that deserves some credit.
Going back to the Ballon D’or, Ronaldo has been unlucky because if it hadn’t been for Messi then he would have won it for the past two or three years.
Messi is truely the best player of his generation though. He does everything, scores goals, good on the ball, scores goals and he also seems a genuinely nice guy.
Players like Luis Suarez and Ronaldo are Marmite players, some like them others don’t. Messi is appreciated by absolutely everyone.
I would love to see him come to the Premier League to see if could cope with the hustle and the bustle.
You have the big periods, especially around the Christmas period when the games come thick and fast. It is down to how the big players cope with that.
You also have to cope for a whole season, as Ronaldo did when he was over in this country.
Wouldn’t it be great to see some of these players, like Messi, Ronaldo, Iniesta or Xavi playing in our divisions.
Maybe these choices in the team of the year have just underlined that we are still a way behind the rest of Europe in terms of doing things right.
If you look back through the years we have always been playing catch-up, even with countries like Sweden.
As a youngster I went to see Southampton playing Gothenburg in the Cup Winners Cup and one thing stood out while I was standing on my milk crate at the front of the terraces.
While the Saints came out for 10 minutes and put a few balls in the back of the net, Gotherburg were out for around an hour before the game kicked off.
That continued in my career as I learned when I went to play in Sweden. Scarborough Athletic’s Jimmy Beadle will say exactly the same.
Clubs over there don’t miss anything. When I signed I had my most thorough medical that I had ever had. When I signed for Crewe it only took me 10 minutes.
Our training pitch in Sweden was like Wembley even though it was in the early 1990s. You were looked after superbly and things were done correctly back then.
They haven’t stood still either, whereas we have stood still for too long. Now we are always catching up because they were professional a long time before us.
Having taken a look at the latest victory by England against India, that does show that we are doing it right in the sport of cricket.
Ashley Giles looks to be doing a good job after waiting for his chance to take the reins.
He has done well at Warwickshire and he will bring his own ideas in to the England set-up.
The English coaches seem to be very forward thinking in terms of the analytical side of things and that is going to help.
Focusing on batsmen’s weaknesses and the like is always going to give you an advantage, moving us forward as a team.
It isn’t easy to win over there because India are a very good time. It is all about quieting the crowd down.
India were left chasing down a score of 325, but because Twenty20 has changed the game so much, they weren’t that far away.
Six an over used to be hard to get, but now they are scoring 10 an over in the Big Bash.
It is a great result on foreign soil and long may it continue.
Team of the week
Bradford City - without a shadow of a doubt for their result against Aston Villa.
Quote of the week
Leyton Orient fan Craig Rodhouse: “Supporting a lower league side certainly provides you with your share of agony and disappointment, but that only makes the good times a little bit sweeter.”