The winner of the FIFA #Ballondor 2012 is Lionel Messi— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) January 7, 2013
I think I speak for soccer fans everywhere when I say, "Duh."
Messi took home his fourth Ballon d'Or, in no small part due to his world-record 91 goals this season for Barcelona and Argentina. While Barcelona's only trophy was the Copa del Rey this season, Messi's individual brilliance was enough to earn him the award.
He didn't win it without having stiff competition, though.
Cristiano Ronaldo led Real Madrid to a La Liga title and took Portugal to the semifinals of the 2012 Euros, where it lost to Spain in penalty kicks. Only Messi had more La Liga goals in the calendar year, and Ronaldo did so despite playing out wide the majority of the time.
Meanwhile, Andres Iniesta continued his reign as arguably the most technically gifted player in the world and was named UEFA Player of the Year and the best player at the 2012 Euros after leading Spain to its second consecutive trophy in the tournament.
He was also, once again, a key cog in Barcelona's vaunted midfield.
But neither could top the accomplishments of Messi, who added 19 assists to his absurd goal-scoring tally.
Add in the fact that Argentina was dominant in its 2012 World Cup qualifying, and that Barcelona is currently 11 points clear of Atletico Madrid in La Liga play this season, and you have the makings of an unbeatable Ballon d'Or resume.
At this point, the argument about who deserves to be called the world's top player is over. I'm one of the few people outside of Real Madrid fans who loves watching Ronaldo play, but even I wouldn't argue he's a better player than Messi.
The diminutive Argentine might just be called the sport's greatest player ever soon enough. While many folks will need to see him lead Argentina to a World Cup title before they offer up that designation, it's beginning to become absurd just how easily Messi dominates the competition.
We should all enjoy this while it lasts.