KEIR RADNEDGE in ZURICH: Jennifer Davies from FIFA World magazine was handed one of the most desperately testing roles at the world federation’s annual gala today here at the Zurich Kongresshaus – asking a babel of journalists about the Never-Ending Challenge of Messi.

Barcelona’s little magician had long since been runaway odds-on favourite to win the World Player of the Year crown for a fourth time ahead, this time, of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta.

The problem for FIFA in promoting their prize is that the element of expectation and surprise had long since vanished under the pressures of a super-democratic voting system.

This enfranchises the world’s national team managers and captains and the favourite reporters of French magazine France Football whose own award has been swallowed up by FIFA (though it is never phrased that way on the Big Night in Zurich, of course).

Ronaldo relegated

Naturally it is terrific news for football the worldwide game that an individual of such matchless talent and, generally, remarkable restraint under all manner of restraint, is out in front of the field. In any other Ronaldo would  stalk away with all the prizes going; his own brilliance is the unmatchable  measure of Messi.

How then, asked Davies of the media pack, can you keep coming up with something new to say about Messi? The answer from this irrevent writer was that maybe he would create a headline by falling up the stairs on the way to collect his prize.

Some hope. Messi is just too sure-footed . . . that is why he remains the world’s best and probably for quite some time to come.

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