Zurich- As the end of the year approaches, FIFA recognizes outstanding football with the FIFA Ballon D’or Gala. This Gala will award players around the world with the World’s Team of the Year, the Puskas Award, and many more. The award that draws the most attention, however, is the Ballon D’or, or the Golden Ball.
The Ballon D’or has been awarded to the world’s best players since 1956, including the likes of George Best, Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Zinedine Zidane, Luis Figo, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Lima, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. These days, the Ballon D’or has been more of a direct competition between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, leaving no room for anyone else. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Franck Ribery, Xavi, and Iniesta have all been snubbed of the Golden Ball, by the likes of Messi and Ronaldo. This year, a similar fate may unfold, but exactly who will take home the Golden Ball?
This year’s nominees for the Ballon D’or are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Neymar Jr. Both Messi and Neymar played a large part in Barcelona’s dominating performance in the 2014-15 season, as they added a treble to their club’s illustrious history. On the other hand, Ronaldo and Real Madrid had a very tough 2014-15 season, as they failed to win a single title, and were only runner-ups in La Liga. However, the Ballon D’or is not based completely on club achievement, but more on the individual’s accomplishments.
Barcelona looked to have another fruitless season with their disappointing start to the 2014-15 season, but alongside his fellow Barcelona veterans, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez, Messi turned Barcelona’s form around, and dominated all competitions in the second half of the club season. In the end, Lionel Messi scored 58 goals with Barcelona. 43 in La Liga, 10 in the Champions League, and 5 in the Copa del Rey. [Source]
Alongside Messi in the Barcelona squad is Neymar, the sprightly 23 year old Brazilian international. At the age of 23, Neymar plays for one of the biggest clubs in the world, and has bagged a total 152 career goals. Neymar scored a total 39 goals with Barcelona in the 2014-15 season, with 22 in La Liga, 10 in the Champions League, and 7 in the Copa del Rey [Source].
Opposing Messi and Neymar is Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid. Real Madrid failed in all competitions, going home empty-handed in La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League. The Madrid side failed to replicate their 2014-15 form where they won both the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, which lead many to question Ronaldo’s presence on the Ballon D’or shortlist. However, the Ballon D’or focuses on individual achievement. With that being said, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a total 61 goals in the 2014-15 season, outscoring Messi and Neymar, as well as improving on his previous record of 60 goals in a season. Ronaldo also became the fastest player in La Liga history to score 200 league goals when he scored a hat trick in a match against Celta Vigo. Ronaldo also won the Pichichi award and the European Golden Shoe, for his remarkable form. The defending Ballon D’or winner also scored 10 goals in the Champions league, making him the top goalscorer in the UEFA Champions league for the third consecutive season.
On the night of the Gala, the main event will be the reveal of the winner of the Ballon D’or, as the world watches on. All eyes will be on Neymar, Messi, and Ronaldo.
Despite the suspense, there is only one clear winner: Lionel Messi. Despite his slow start to the season, Messi was on fire for the entire second half of the season. He lead his team to victory, gaining a historic treble. Neymar’s achievements will be yet again be overlooked by the godly prowess of Lionel Messi. As Neymar and Ronaldo have small chances of winning, they both will look to next year to capture the illustrious award.
Therefore, Messi has the best chance of winning his fifth Ballon D’or, outperforming his competition.
Who do you think will win the Ballon D’or? Leave a comment below.