Barcelona and Spain midfielder Xavi.
It was a very close call between Xavi and Iniesta for third best player in the world, with Xavi edging it ever so slightly due to his longevity at the top level.
The Spaniard has won all there is to win in the game, starting with his first La Liga title way back in 1999. He has 123 caps for Spain and has won more trophies than any other Spanish player in history in his decorated career.
The 33-year-old plays a slightly deeper role than his midfield partner Iniesta, and is one of the best players of all time at dictating the tempo of a game. No other player has attempted more passes per game in Europe this season, nor has any other player completed as many successful passes. Whether it’s short or long, Xavi is an expert at finding his team-mates and creating chances, with his superb vision and technique making him the perfect playmaker.
Xavi is also a slightly better goal-scorer than Iniesta, reaching double figures in goals on a couple of occasions for Barcelona, due to his excellent ability from long range and free-kicks. He is without a doubt one of the best players to ever play for both Barcelona and Spain, and will be remembered as one of the best midfield playmakers to ever play the game.
Despite a slightly disappointing season this year for Barcelona, in which they were often second best to the big sides, particularly in the Champions League semi-final humiliation to Bayern Munich, Xavi has still added a seventh league title to his collection, and shows no signs of slowing down into his later years, with another influential performance for Spain as they retained the European Championship last summer, with two assists in the 4-0 final win over Italy.
Like Iniesta, Xavi has rather harshly finished behind Barca’s star player Lionel Messi for the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon D’Or awards on several occasions, and would surely have won many times if not for playing at the same time was perhaps the greatest player in the history of the game.
There are many exciting young players coming through at the moment, with Spain and Germany in particular providing many talented young midfielders in the Xavi mould, but they will do well to have half the career he has, and he is still arguably the best in the world in his position.