Former Spain defender Mariano Pernia claims Andres Iniesta should win the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or, ahead of his team-mate Lionel Messi.
The Barcelona midfielder was crowned UEFA’s Best Player in Europe for 2011/12, but is out of the running for FIFA’s award, with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Xavi making the final three-man shortlist.
However, in the eyes of Pernia, who represented his adopted country at the 2006 World Cup, having been born in Argentina, it is his ex-colleague Iniesta who is most worthy of winning the Ballon d’Or.
“For me, Iniesta deserves it,” Pernia told Sport. “He is an amazing player, I met him in the Spanish camp and he is a most excellent player, a special person and a top professional.
“Lionel Messi is from another galaxy, but he’s already won it twice.”
Iniesta enjoyed a trophy-laden 2012, winning the Copa del Rey with Barcelona, and Euro 2012 with his country.