Luis Mestres is a proud and passionate supporter of the current Spanish and European champions, Barcelona. This year, the 42-year-old had the pleasure of accompanying his heroes to Japan in their quest for the FIFA Club World Cup 2006 .
A native of Sant Pere de Ribes, a municipality in Catalonia, Mestres made the long journey to the Far East with a group of friends to cheer on a team he says he has supported for as long as he can remember.
Proudly sporting a Blaugrana jersey with accompanying scarf and flag, Mestres was happy to give FIFA.com a Barcelona fan's perspective on the year that was in 2006.
My 2006: Luis Mestres, Barcelona fan
For me the highlight of 2006 was accompanying the team to Japan and the experience of meeting people from other cultures. It was really great, as we went out every night and met fans of the other participating sides, and we never had the slightest problem. Everyone showed each other the utmost respect and there was a real sense of brotherhood. I was certainly enriched by the experience.
In terms of football, from my perspective the most inspirational players were Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o, the latter in spite of his injury. Ronaldinho has been decisive at key moments all year, always producing a little bit of magic, and that makes it doubly thrilling for us watching. As for Eto'o , no one tries harder on the pitch than him. He gives every last ounce of energy, and that's what we fans want to see.
Choosing the best game this year is harder, but if were pushed I'd have to choose two Champions League fixtures. The first was the final of last season's edition against Arsenal, and the second was our last group game in this year's competition against Germany's Werder Bremen. It was just before we came over to Japan and it was like another final: win or we were out. Despite the incredible tension, the team responded well and managed to win and go through.
My player of the year would have to be Ronaldinho , who has rediscovered his creativity and magical touch. He had a bit of a dip in form at the start of the season, which was understandable after the World Cup, but he's back working wonders again. Watching him play for the Blaugrana is a genuine pleasure.
In footballing terms, the biggest disappointments were the injuries to Lionel Messi and, above all, to Eto'o. Samuel is a real phenomenon and is sorely missed, so we hope to see him back as soon as possible.
The young player who most impressed me was Messi, no question about it. He's the future of football. He's already a star player, but he's going to be even bigger in the future. The most promising player I saw this year is also on the books of Barcelona: the Mexican Giovani Dos Santos. That guy is a real little schemer, and he's going to bring us a lot of joy.
The World Cup in Germany was special too. I thought Spain were going to go a long way, but once again they crashed out. I was enthralled by the competition's closing stages, and in the end I think Italy were deserving winners.
How I would improve the game of football? I'd like to see video technology used to determine whether fouls have taken place or not. That would bring an end to the controversy.
Aside from football, what I enjoyed most was the build-up to Christmas, and then being able to enjoy the festive season with my family.
What's on my 2007 wish list? Well let's see. There's the league championship, the Champions League and Club World Cup. Winning all three in one season would be a unique feat. Yes, I'll drink to that!