It’s that time of year in the footballing world where the beautiful game’s finest gather together to celebrate their achievements in the last calenda
It’s that time of year in the footballing world where the beautiful game’s finest gather together to celebrate their achievements in the last calendar year; it’s Ballon d’Or time.
The list is designed to celebrate the footballing elite, and what a year 2013 has been so far. With estimates suggesting that Cristiano Ronaldo may overtake Raul as Real Madrid’s top scorer and Lionel Messi being… well Lionel Messi and scoring like it’s going out of fashion are we really expecting a shock?
Bale for Britain
The only person I’d suggest would be a bit of a shock would be Gareth Bale, admittedly he did sweep the British awards but of the nominees he’s definitely the least decorated for club and country. Spurs didn’t particularly have a strong season; however AVB took the time to further develop his squad and money conscious Daniel Levy managed to net an estimated €100 million for the Welsh Forward. Bale is also the only British player listed.
Of course, Bale wasn’t the only big money move this summer and summer signings Falcao (Monaco) and Cavani (PSG) have also made the list. Of the two Falcao seems to be flourishing slightly more at his new stage, however Cavani, undoubtedly has more competition to be PSG’s main man. Who can overlook Zlatan Ibrahimovich?
In fact Cavani’s fan favourite team mate Zlatan makes the Ballon d’Or shortlist as well. Unsurprisingly, Ibrahimovich has had a great 2013; although having a great year isn’t anything new for Zlatan (I’m sure we remember his goal vs England in 2012). He’s carried on in his usual style scoring more and more wonder goals. Are they still wonder goals now or just standard Zlatan? For most however Zlatan would still be hitting the heights of third. Realistically he could have easily walked the Ballon d’Or were it not for Ronaldo and Messi.
Messi- the best in the world?
Joining the lists expected suspects is Neymar. A player who made his name in Brazil and despite suggestions that he might stick with Santos until after the World Cup Neymar made the move to Barcelona to play alongside Xavi, Iniesta, and Messi. Some said that he might not be proven as the Brazilian league isn’t considered as strong as La Liga. This didn’t faze Neymar who made the Confederations Cup his forte easily leading the Brazilian line in their fantastic win.
A strong year for Ballon d’Or representatives could easily see some big names glazed over. Another on form player during 2013 has been Robin Van Persie, a definite outsider for the crown the Manchester United and Netherlands striker has picked up his first Premier League trophy with Manchester United, and surpassed Patrick Kluivert as his national team’s top scorer; not bad for someone who would be considered a long shot if he won.
The main contender for the award no doubt will be Lionel Messi; arguably the best player in the world there isn’t much that the Argentina and Barcelona forward hasn’t won. He, no doubt will want to keep his domination intact and again pip Cristiano Ronaldo to the award.
A shame for Ronaldo who, in another decade would have easily been considered the best player in the world, leaps and bounds above the rest Ronaldo has become a key player for both club and country. It must be so hard being a main player for Real Madrid and picking up a rumoured €300,000 per week. However he will no doubt want to one day reclaim his Ballon d’Or from Messi.
One noticeable trend in the ballon d’Or however is the representatives’ positions. An emphasis seems to be made onto attacking play. Only three of the players in the list seem to occupy traditionally defensive traditions; Lahm, Neuer, and Thiago Silva. Even then Lahm is becoming more an attacking wing back under Guardiola. We see some players (such as Pirlo) who can play a holding position however the focus definitely seems to be on attack.
The Ballon d’Or shortlist for 2013 is:
Gareth Bale (Wales), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Müller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Özil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Franck Ribéry (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain).”
Who do you think deserves this award? Does Bale stand a chance for Wales? Have your say by leaving a comment below.