Alves: Messi is the best
Barcelona defender Dani Alves believes Lionel Messi answered any doubts as to whether he was the rightful winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or with his brilliant Copa del Rey hat-trick against Real Betis. Messi become the inaugural winner of the award on Monday, pipping club-mates Andres Iniesta and Xavi in the voting.
Messi scored an astonishing 60 goals for club and country in 2010, but Iniesta and Xavi both had strong claims to win the award themselves having also had excellent years capped by winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ with Spain - something Argentinian Messi did not have on his CV.
Nevertheless, Alves feels Messi proved exactly why he is officially the world's top player with his treble in last night's 5-0 Copa quarter-final first-leg triumph over Betis. "Messi is different to the rest. I think in this game Messi has settled any debate or controversy about the Ballon d'Or. The best player has won it. He shows every day that he is the best. The others also deserved it, but the best player has won it," said Alves.
Alves also played down his on-pitch row with team-mate Gerard Pique during the win over Betis, saying: "Pique and I have resolved it. It was something in the heat of the moment, but in the end it's nothing."
Regarding the win over Betis, which all but assured Barcelona of a place in the semi-finals and equalled the club record for going unbeaten (27 games), the Brazilian added: "We had the advantage of playing the first game at home and we've achieved our objective. But we have the return match to come and we must respect our opponents, even though we have a good lead. Betis played well here, especially in the first half. They made things difficult for us."