Who Should Win The Ballon d’Or?

Published 12/06/2014, 3:36 PM EST


It is that time of the year again when all football fans will fiercely debate over who would be awarded the title of being the best player in the world and presented with the precious Ballon d’Or.

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As FIFA announced the three-man shortlist, the third candidate, Manuel Neuer, was possibly the biggest surprise. Ronaldo and Messi were the first two men on that list.

Here is a case for all the three candidates.

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Competitors for the Ballon d’Or

[tps_title]1. Cristiano Ronaldo[/tps_title]

The winner of the last edition has again made it to the shortlist and according to the bookies, is the favourite to win the award this year too. The Portuguese machine had a brilliant last season, helping Real Madrid win the La Decima as well as scording a record 17 goals in the process.

Cristiano Ronaldo is the front-runner for the Ballon d’Or this year

He was also the top-scorer in the La Liga and Copa del Rey. Ronaldo also finished last season with the European Golden Shoe, sharing the award with Luis Suarez. All this came with numerous niggling injuries, but Ronaldo pushed on despite fears over his long-term future. These injuries did, however, come to haunt him in the World Cup, where he saw his team crashing out of the tournament while it was in its infancy.

Since then, the former Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon spearhead has been ruthless. He has broken La Liga’s 79-year league record thanks to 17 goals in the opening 10 matches of the season. Scoring in almost every match and notching assists for fun, he has been at the center of the record-breaking run for Real Madrid.

There simply cannot be a Ballon d’Or discussion without Lionel Messi. The little magician had what many have termed as a mediocre year, but such is his prowess that he still outdid most. Reaching the World Cup final with Argentina, he played a major role in getting them through the group stages. He was also awarded the Golden Ball for being the best player in the tournament.

Lionel Messi may have an outside chance of winning the award after his impressive display at the World Cup

Though he did not win any trophy with Barcelona, he has recently broken the all-time goal-scoring record for both La Liga (253) and the Champions League (74). Still only 27-years-old, his recent form indicates that he continues as hungry as ever.

Regardless of all the adulation he is constantly surrounded by, he has continued to focus on developing his skills to the next level, no matter how unrealistic that may seem.

The humble star continues to grow as Barca’s ultimate leader both on and off the pitch, becoming more generous and influential with each passing year, a statement that is validated by the number of charities that he is associated to.

[tps_title]3. Manuel Neuer[/tps_title]

The fact that Neuer made the select shortlist is a massive compliment and an indication of Bayern Munich’s colossal figure between the posts, even though he tends to enjoy going out on strolls when his team is in possession.

Neuer is the first keeper since Buffon to be nominated for the award

Since 2006, after  Gianluigi Buffon, it’s the first time a keeper has made it to the top 3, and deservedly so.

The German international has taken goalkeeping to new heights. Often called has “Neuer Mode”, where the the flicks, backheels and flying headers out of the box are a common sight, his goalkeeping is a treat to watch.

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He was the standout German candidate from their World Cup triumph, and has continued his inspired form this season too, with 10 clean sheets in 13 games, making 28 saves in the process.

His brilliance also helped Bayern run away with their Champions League group. In particular, top performances against Manchester City and CSKA Moscow secured victories by the narrowest of margins when the going got tough for his team-mates.

His competitors are a lot of things, but they are not World Cup winners!

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Aviral Srivastava

112 articles

Pursuing Computer Science Engineering from Bangalore Institute of Technology. Avid sports fan, specially football. A lifelong United supporter.

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