The argument about who is the greatest footballer ever can never be definitive.
Different eras have produced a different game, and contrasting what Maradona or Pele did last century to what Messi has done in more recent times is too hard to compare. But there can be no question that this is the Messi era. Or can there?
Out of the 483 captains, coaches and media who voted in today's Ballon d'Or ceremony, 45 omitted Lionel Messi - who won the award for the fourth consecutive year - from their top three players in the world.
Somewhat staggeringly, Messi was deemed not good enough for Spanish captain Iker Casillas' liking, or German coach Joachim Low's list, despite scoring 91 goals in all competitions throughout 2012.
Thanks to FIFA publishing the list of votes, we were able to nit-pick some other anomalies from this year's vote, here are our favourites.
- All Whites' coach Ricki Herbert had no room for Cristiano Ronaldo in his three votes.
- Neither did Lionel Messi, who used his vote on Barcelona team mates Iniesta (1st), Xavi (2nd) and Argentinian team mate Sergio Aguero (3rd).
- Spanish and Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas selected team mate Sergio Ramos as his No. 1 pick and omitted La Liga rival Lionel Messi.
- Swedish coach Erik Hamren voted for Swedish captain Zlatan Ibrahimovich as Number one, no room for Messi.
- German coach Joachim Low picked German midfielder Mesul Ozil as the best in the world, followed by German Neuer Manuel and Xavi. No room for Messi or Ronaldo.
- Mario Balotelli got his one vote from Fahed Attal, the captain of the Palestine team (who placed him 3rd).
- Dutch captain Wesley Sneijder voted for international team mate Robin Van Persie as his No.1 pick.
- The top premier league players: Didier Drogba in 8th with 2.6% of vote; Robin Van Persie in 9th (1.45%)
- The FIFA World X1 is made up entirely of players from La Liga.
- Wayne Rooney got 0.39% of voting - only English player in the top 20
The final vote:
Messi 41.6%; Ronaldo 23.68%; Iniesta 10.91%
The FIFA/FIFPro Word XI is: CASILLAS, DANI ALVES, MARCELO, PIQUÉ, RAMOS, INIESTA, ALONSO, XAVI, RONALDO, FALCAO, MESSI
Who the Kiwis voted for:
(coach) Ricki Herbert: Iniesta (1st), Messi (2nd), Xavi (3rd)
(captain) Ryan Nelsen: Messi (1st), Ronaldo (2nd), Xavi (3rd)
(media) Gordon Glen Watson: Ronaldo (1st), Messi (2nd), Pirlo (3rd)