Ballon d’Or 2015 GALA: ES TOP 3

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January 11, 2016 11:56 am

The final countdown for the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala has started and the event is less than 24 hours away from us . The ceremony which awards the best footballer for that calendar year is scheduled to take place at the Kongresshaus haul in Zurich (Switzerland) at 5:30 pm GMT ( 11:00 pm IST) and we present to you our ranking of the final 3 shortlists of the FIFA Ballon d’or 2015.

 

3) Cristiano Ronaldo

Stats – 54 matches – 61 goals, 22 assists
Trophies – NIL

 

Well, Ronaldo had statistically an enormously staggering season averaging more than 1 goal per game which won him the European golden shoe award. But that is all there is to win for him as stats can be actually deceiving at times in football and although he was the most prolific goal-scorer in Europe last season, he was far from being the ‘best player’.

Real Madrid had another of their trophy-less season where they were knocked out of Atletico Madrid in the Copa Del Rey and Juventus in Champions League. In La Liga as well they weren’t able to defeat Atletico Madrid despite going on a 22 match unbeaten streak after they were defeated by Barcelona at the Nou Camp. And one thing common to all these matches where Real were trumped by their opposition is Ronaldo’s effect being nullified.

His numbers were more about scoring hat-tricks against mid and bottom placed minnows than creating a difference in the matches where it actually mattered for Real. Same is the story in the current season as well as the Portuguese Talisman was able to score 5 past Espanyol and 3 against Malmo but fired blanks against the likes of PSG, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal, Bilbao, Sevilla, Valencia, Barcelona etc. -matches in which Real dropped points barring their encounter vs. PSG where they escaped with one of the luckiest wins you will ever see. Also, once famous for his brilliant free-kicks, his quality has severely degraded in that department in the last year, as he had a record of having scored absolutely no free-kick goals in 100 attempts.
Luis Suarez’s exclusion for Cristiano was widely criticized as the Uruguayan superstar was much more decisive in the big games and played a crucial part in the Barca’s run to their second treble while having amazing numbers in the goals and assists department and it should probably had been Messi, Suarez and Neymar in the Ballon d’Or podium.

 

2) Neymar Jr

 

Stats  – 51 matches – 39 goals, 11 assists
Trophies – La Liga, Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup 

The Samba boy is playing his career’s best football for Barcelona at the moment as he absolutely dazzled the Camp Nou turf with his dribbles and skills. The 23-year-old Brazilian took his time to settle with the Catalans but after completing his first season in Spain, he shifted gears and his second season proved to be one of the best from any player in Europe as he was an integral part of Barca’s magical run of form last season where they conquered 5 trophies last season.

Slotting in at the left position of the attacking trident of MSN, Neymar Jr delivered in almost all of the big games he played in with the Blaugranas, scoring in all the major knockout games of UEFA Champions League including the semifinal match against Bayern Munich and the final against Juventus.

He was one of the most fouled players for Barca as his skills were at times were too much to handle for the opposition, a case where they resorted to fouling to stop the flamboyant Brazilian.

Barca made one of the best purchases of the recent times when they acquired him from Santos for a hefty fee as the Brazil captain looks all set to dominate world football in the upcoming years and as irreplaceable Messi is, Neymar looks set to be the perfect guy they can make their focal point when Messi starts moving to midfield in the latter stages of his career.

Not this year but his time as the Ballon d’or winner will come soon.

 

1) Lionel Messi

 

 Stats – 57 matches, 58 goals, 31 assists
Trophies – La Liga, Copa Del Rey, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup

Quite possible the greatest footballer ever to grace this beautiful game, Messi played probably the best football of his career to raise Barca from the horrendous trophy-less season they faced under the regime of Tata Martino to one of the all-time best seasons the Catalans have had till now. He was the driving force behind Barca’s run to the capture of the  quintuple of the league title, the Spanish Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup.

 The diminutive Argentine rose at the biggest of occasions and his level of play was so high that his influence was felt even when he wasn’t able to get his name on the score-sheet – most notably of which was his performance against Manchester City where he absolutely bamboozled the players of the then Premier League title holders. His nutmeg on James Milner was so spell bounding that it caused the Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola to cover his face with his hands in astonishment of the football which his former disciple was displaying at the Camp Nou turf.

Leo scored probably two of the best goals of his career in the matches against Bayern Munich and Athletic Bilbao. One was the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg where he was against a team lead by the managerial genius of Pep Guardiola boasting of one of the world’s best defenders in the form of Jeremy Boateng and world’s best goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. His long shot in the 76th minute and then the glorious chip against the 6’3 Neuer two minutes later completely changed the scenario of the tie as Barca won the first leg by a 3-0 margin; the third by Neymar was again assisted by the Barca number 10.
His double in the Copa Del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao, one of which is nominated for the best goal of the year award was a solo dribble from the half line which sealed the second trophy for the Catalans, while his goal against Atletico Madrid at Vincente Calderon won Barca the La Liga trophy back from Simeone’s men. Leo also played a deciding role in the Champions League final against Juventus in Berlin as the Argentine magician frayed Juventus’ midfield on his own, and it was a Luis Suarez’s rebound from Leo’s own long shot that gave Barca the lead in the match after the score was tied at 1-1.

The most special aspect of Leo’s season was that he played as an attacking midfielder almost all of the last season and still managed to acclaim an overwhelming 58 goals and a joint Champions League top scorer.

This statement of the new Barca joinee Arda Turan for Leo describes him aptly –  ‘Messi is a miracle from God. There is him and then there are others!’

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