The Spanish media, still smarting from FIFA's decision to pick Russia over Spain-Portugal as the host of the 2018 World Cup, criticized FIFA president Sepp Blatter following the selection of Argentine Lionel Messi as the winner of the FIFA Ballon d'Or over Spaniards Andres Iniesta and Xavi.
ABC Spain claimed, "FIFA scorns world champions," according to Marca, "[Blatter] had the chance to once again show his ill-will toward everything Spanish. Only a few days ago, he left us without the chance to organize the World Cup by instead opting for Russia and yesterday he left us without a prize that Spanish soccer deserve."
Xavi and Iniesta won the World Cup title with Spain, while Messi's Argentina was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Inter Milan won the UEFA Champions League, the major club competition of the year. Inter's Wesley Sneijder finished fourth in the Ballon d'Or voting.
"FIFA awarding Lionel Messi the Ballon d'Or award -- a player absent in the two biggest events of the year -- is a slap in the face for Spanish soccer," wrote Marca's Emilio Contreras. "Inter won the Champions League and Spain the World Cup. One cannot doubt the talents of the Argentina forward, but 2010 was Spain's year. What did Messi achieve in South Africa? Nothing. What did Xavi and Iniesta achieve? They took Spain to its first World Cup final. If Fabio Cannavaro won it in 2006, why leave us without the award now?"