Eden Hazard has some serious improving to do - with both his performances and his attitude - even if he's to enter the conversation as one of the world's best players, and he's going to need to step things up if he's actually to be deemed worthy of stepping in to the shoes of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish capital.
The weight of doom England fans carried when gearing up for the World Cup was heavy and the media wrote about nothing more than the impending disappointment we are so used to facing. So this time it's easier and a hell of a lot less painful - we're not even there! Perhaps now we can enjoy the football.
The players are exhibiting a freedom and style to their play which had been alarmingly truant during the ill-fated spell of Gerardo Martino. Much to City's angst and trepidation, Barcelona have rediscovered that way of winning which makes racking off five or six goals on an afternoon's work curiously insouciant.
Having mastered every challenge his sport has placed before him, Ronaldo no longer competes with his peers but has transcended to higher plane to seek measure against the likes of Ali, Nicklaus, Federer, Phelps and Bolt, to name but a few. For in Ronaldo there is no doubt he deserves his place among such stellar company.
The big, glitzy ceremony gives the game away a bit - it's just an excuse for Fifa and co to throw a party, pat themselves on the back, get a few drinks down and rub shoulders with the great and the good. If it was at the end of a season, it might be more palatable.
If Wayne Rooney had been Argentinian or Brazilian, he may well have been the poster boy of a football mad nation. Unfortunately for Wayne, however, he's English and gets lambasted after almost every performance.
At this time of year, the focus turns to the Ballon d'Or and with the 23-man list released earlier today, discussion is rife on social media as to who should and should not be up for nomination for the individual awards event of the year. The nominees will always spark debate...
Lionel Messi didn't deserve to win the World Cup Golden Ball... it was an incorrect decision, with Maradona going as far as to claim it was all part of a marketing ploy... Did he prove he was the greatest player of all time, no not really. However did he prove that he was the best, most decisive, most influential player at the 2014 World Cup.
Messi is judged more harshly than any other player on the planet. If he doesn't single-handedly win the game for his side, or produce a wonder-goal, he's said to have disappointed... But a poor game for Messi is still better than most people on earth could ever hope for.
It speaks volumes about Lionel Messi's talents that the World Cup he has just enjoyed could still be considered such a catastrophic failure in so many quarters... Fans cried out that there were plenty of others more deserving of the gong... but Messi has to contend with the expectations his performances over the years have built up.
An attempt to score against this 2014 edition of the German football machine is a treacherously difficult scenario... In this World Cup the goalkeeper of the tournament. Perhaps, even in this festival of attacking sensation, the player of the tournament.
You can never truly write off a team that includes Lionel Messi, and the Argentines will still be confident ahead of Wednesday's night's semi-final against the Netherlands. Missing Ángel Di María, though, their job will be that much more difficult.
March proved to be a profitable month for a number of the strikers across Europe's top 5 leagues, with WhoScored.com looking at those that have recently hit a purple patch at club level. There were as many as 12 players that scored in at least 4 league matches over the 31 days - an achievement that we felt was worth recognition.
A month is an awfully long time in the world of football, and even in the shortest one of the year there was plenty of drama and change across Europe's top 5 leagues. Three of the titles look all but decided while La Liga and the Premier League are as open as they possibly could be, and February's standout performers had a huge impact on the final strait in each division.
Following Guardiola's decision to step down at the end of the 2012 campaign, Gerardo 'Tata' Martino now occupies the Blaugrana dugout - and the club find themselves level-pegging with rivals Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid at the top of the Spanish Primera División.
As the old saying goes, "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice whatever the hell they do in France"