Ballon D’or 2015: Who Should Win It?

hot air Ballon D'or

What a year 2015 was for football. Countless broken records and new heights reached by both clubs and players who all strived to achieve the best.2015 saw the craziest and wonderfully crazy things happen such as Chelsea’s implosion, Barcelona beating Real Madrid 4-0 at the Bernabeu and Messi’s delicious goal against Bayern Munich in which he embarrassed both Boateng and Manuel Neuer. Not to mention some of the crazy transfers that happened during the summer, like Raheem Sterling to Manchester City for nearly £50m and the seemingly unknown Anthony Martial going to Manchester United for £36m on deadline day then scoring on his debut against Liverpool at the Stretford end. As much as players want team achievements like a league title or Champions League, all of them would one want accolade without a shadow of a doubt; the coveted Ballon D’or. Since 2008, the recipient of the prestigious award has either been Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi and really, nobody’s ever come close to dethroning them although this year, Neymar is well within a shout of piping both Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Messi to the biggest prize in football. All three of them had amazing years both as a team and individually, Ronaldo more the latter. Now the question on everyone mind is that same, who will win the 2015 Ballon D’or award?

Lionel Messi

FC Barcelona v AFC Ajax - UEFA Champions League

Club: Barcelona
Nationality: Argentine
Position: Right Winger
Trophies won in 2015: La Liga, Champions League, Copa Del Rey, European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup

He burst on the scene as an insanely good dribbler in 2005, he then evolved into a devastating false 9 in 2010 and now is the creative playmaker. We are currently seeing Messi 3.0 and 2015 was a year to savour for both Messi and football fans in general. Messi won an amazing 5 trophies with Barcelona in 2015, and was integral to Barcelona’s success as they reinstated themselves as the best team in Europe, and indeed the world. Messi scored in 3 out of the 4 finals he played in during the course of 2015, only missing out in the scoresheet in the Champions League final against Juventus, but did assist Luis Suarez’s goal. Initially starting the season in the false 9 position we’ve all grown accustomed to seeing him excel in the past, he was then moved to the right flank, to accommodate new signing Luis Suarez into the side. This was the start of one of the most potent and lethal forward lines that the world has ever seen, MSN (Messi Suarez Neymar) as they scored an amazing 137 goals between them in the calendar year. He also became Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorer which as 27, is more impressive. In addition to his club success, he only captained Argentina to the final of the Copa America, losing narrowly to Chile on spot kicks. It is virtually impossible to find a fault in the 4 time Ballon D’or winner’s play and to do so, you’d have to go to unbelievable heights. Well lack of height seems to the weakness in his play, if you could you even call it that. His 5’7 frame obviously means that his heading ability isn’t as great as Ronaldo per say, who stands at 6’1 but his other attributes more than makes up for this. Things such as his glue-like dribbling, eye for a pass. lethal finishing and unrivalled set piece ability makes him a great choice for this year’s award. The one thing that can go against him however, the fact that he was injured for 3 months, almost a 3rd of the year. In 2015 he got 52 goals and 26 assists in 61 appearances.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid's Ronaldo celebrates his goal against Villarreal during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid

Club: Real Madrid
Nationality: Portuguese
Position: Left Winger
Trophies won in 2015: N/A

Ronaldo certainly didn’t have the best year in terms of trophies added to his illustrious trophy room, in fact, his team went through 3 managers in 2015, despite all the chaos and mayhem happening at the Los Blancos, one thing remained a constant, Ronaldo scoring goals. A huge amount. A stupid amount. Ronaldo ended 2015 as the top scorer of the year, scoring 57 goals and tallying 17 assists in 57 games, as well as breaking Raul’s record of being Real Madrid all-time leading goal scorer, Raul got 323 goals in 751 appearances for the club, a decent goal record. Ronaldo blitzed that completely by getting 324 goals in 310 games, just 441 games fewer than Raul. This just epitomises Ronaldo’s quite frankly stupid goal rate and just how much of a clinical monster the former Manchester United man is in front of goal. He also won the European Golden Shoe award, for the 2nd year running. Although the Ballon D’or is an individual award and should be awarded only solely individual merit alone, the fact that Ronaldo acquired zero silverware whereas his rivals got 5 each will count against him and will probably be his downfall.

Neymar

neymar-2-1940x1391

Club: Barcelona
Nationality: Brazilian
Position: Left Winger
Trophies won in 2015: La Liga, Champions League, Copa Del Rey, European Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup

Neymar entered 2015 with a point to prove as it was seemed to be the make or break year for his Barcelona career as although he had a few bright sparks up until 2015, he was yet to prove his worth in the Barcelona team and show the world if he was indeed a world class talent or just a Youtube footballer, especially with Luis Suarez coming into the side to rival his place in the team. Neymar flourished in the year just gone by and was an integral part to Barcelona’s historical treble last season, as well as to the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in the current season. He scored in both the Copa Del Rey and Champions League finals, providing the killer 3rd goal to secure the silverware in both games.  He finished the season with 10 goals in the Champions League, level with both Messi and Ronaldo. After the rich successes in Catalonia, he headed to Chile in the summer to play in the Copa America, a competition many tipped Brazil to win. The Barca man started well, scoring in his country’s opening game but things quickly turned sour, as he was red carded and suspended for verbally abusing the referee, elimination from the competition swiftly followed, much like Brazil’s exit from the 2014 world cup when Neymar was ruled out with a back injury. Neymar’s most prolific moments in the year happened when Lionel Messi was ruled out for 3 months. Many thought this would see Barcelona’s dominance lessen but cometh the hour cometh the man, Neymar collected 3 MOTM awards in a row during his most efficient period during Messi’s layoff. The former Santos man finished 2015 with 41 goals and 16 assists in 53 games. Neymar could be the one who ends the 7 year Messi/Ronaldo duopoly of the Ballon D’or due to his amazing year.

The Ballon D’or award this year is agonizingly close, but I personally think Messi will just pip both Ronaldo and Neymar to the award to acquire his 5th Ballon D’or award, despite his 3 month lay off.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s