While my main interest in the Ballon d’Or was about which of Barça’s three would actually win (heart said Xavi, head said Messi, Messi won) when Marta picked up her 5th! win in a row it occurred to me to wonder why she hasn’t been linked to a single men’s team. And, given the make up of the male nominees, to think about what kind of woman could actually play with men.
Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi are all around 5’8″ and do not play a particularly physical game. This isn’t to say that they’re not strong or anything, just that their skill sets (especially Xavi’s) do not rely on being stronger, faster, bigger, etc. than their opponents. All three are cerebral players with excellent ball skills and even better vision.
So I’ve started wondering whether a La Masia educated female player could hang with the men. I suspect she would in much the same way that I’ve always held that a left-handed junkballer will be the first professional woman baseball player. She wouldn’t have to overpower anyone, she’d just have to use her skills to outwit her opponents.