My Golden Nominee – Xavi Hernandez

Whilst it's hard to argue with FIFA's decision to name Cristiano Ronaldo, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi as the final three candidates for the Ballon d'Or, it's sadly another case of Xavi Hernandez being underappreciated.

Despite being a finalist for the last three years, Xavi has lost out on every occasion, coming in last place each time.

Of course, it's fair to say that he was beaten by worthy opposition. Messi has won all three, whilst Ronaldo was second in 2009 and 2011. This year's other finalist, Andres Iniesta, came second in 2010.

Whilst Xavi isn't necessarily a headline grabber like Messi and Ronaldo are, he's been a vital cog in the Barcelona machine for a number of years, and 2012 has been no different.

Admittedly, this year has only brought Barcelona a Copa Del Rey title whilst their bitter rivals Real Madrid reclaimed the La Liga crown. On the international stage though, Xavi dazzled at the European Championships as Spain clinched an unprecedented third major trophy in a row.

Even though he's not a player known for his goalscoring prowess, last season saw the 32-year-old’s most prolific spell to date, as he bagged 14 goals for Pep Guardiola's side – but it's the creativity and passing that has made Xavi a household name in world football.

Seven assists last season combined with three so far under new boss Tito Vilanova are a testament to his ability to lay on chances for his teammates, whilst he also broke the European Championship record for most completed passes in a game – 127 in Spain's 4-0 win over Ireland from 136 attempts.

Lionel Messi's new record of 86 goals in a calendar year is an incredible individual achievement, but the service he is provided by the sensational Xavi has been overlooked during the recent praise Messi has been given. Simply, without him, it's doubtful that Messi would've achieved this feat.

Although he's now confirmed as being out of the running, a number of big names in football have been vocal in their support for the Blaugrana man to finally win the Ballon d'Or, including his former  teammate Seydou Keita.

"Xavi really is an incredible player who has been playing on a very high level for years now. With all the titles he has won, he deserves a Ballon d'Or in my opinion. However, it wouldn't change anything about his career if he doesn't win it this year.

"He has been playing at Barcelona ever since he was a child. It would be amazing both for him and for the club if he would retire at Barca."

Regardless of his omission from the final three candidates, 2012 was another great year for Xavi, and you can bet 2013 will be similar – and he'll no doubt be in the running for the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

Let's hope that next time, he finally wins it. He's a special talent that many players in Spain and around world will try to emulate, but with his 33rd birthday approaching, Xavi won't have many more opportunities to win the award that he deserves to win.