As that time of year comes around again where International coaches, captains and a select few journalists from around the world, have cast their vote to decide who is the world’s best play for the year 2013 – it seems now FIFA have extended the voting deadline until the 29th of November due to a low number of votes. Three main contenders are in the running for the award, Bayern Munich and France Winger Frank Ribery, reigning Balon d’Or holder Leo Messi of Barcelona, and lastly Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
There could be compelling arguments made for any one of the three players mentioned to win the award. Ribery – a massive part of the Bayern Munich side that made history under Jupp Heyncks, cleaning up all the silverware before them. Winning the treble of Bundesliga, Champions League, and DFB Pokal in the process breaking record upon record as they charge relentlessly to success.
Lionel Messi outstanding for Barcelona, helping them lift the title. This term bagging 14 goals and 50 last season also putting in some major performances for his country – which he’s been previously criticised for from many quarters and playing a big part in their qualification for the World Cup in Brazil. Although suffering injury will put him out until the New Year, which could only mean if he’s not played the full year, I do not think he is entitled to win the award. For a place a bet on the next big game or balon d’or.
These two players have one thing in common; they were part of very successful teams, winning four honours between them. Bearing in mind this is an individual award I strongly suggest the third candidate wins the vote.
There is not much you can say about Cristiano Ronaldo that has not already been said. A physical specimen. Like Messi and Ribery a truly world-class footballer, he’s been extremely unlucky in the last few years to fall just short of winning the award, behind Messi. Maybe because of the image some have of him being a big-shot, and being flash and possibly arrogant at times. Anyone can use stats to back up their argument. This goes beyond stats. Way beyond.
Last season with the upheaval at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo became the leader of that Real Madrid side which was clearly fractioned with off-field issues. 55 goals and 12 assists with him starting this season in similar fashion, 24 goals and 3 assists in 17 appearances. Under a new manager in Carlo Ancelotti he just seems to be getting better, fitter and stronger as the season progresses. The other thing in my opinion that separates Ronaldo from Messi and Ribery apart from the fact he’s almost a one-man band at the Bernabeu at times . He is not only a goalscorer he is a scorer of great goals, along with that he is a more complete player than the other two. He can score free-kicks, he’s vastly under-rated in the air he’s equally comfortable with either foot and he’s a leader of men. His form this year so far has been outstanding, a joy to watch. Dragging his Portuguese side through the World Cup play-off against Sweden recently. Fortunately for Ronaldo the voting has been extended allowing his magnificent hat-trick in the second leg of the play-off to be recognised, possibly swinging some new votes in his favour.
As I said at the start of the article, all three players will have people who will vote for them and put up an argument why they should win. He won nothing at all last season in the team game, his level of excellence at his new-found leadership won my respect.
These three will be in Brazil in the summer at the World Cup, only should be crowned the World Player of the year for 2013 and Cristiano Ronaldo is that man.