The Paw Print
Ballon D’or winner
The best player and the top goal scorer of the Spanish giants Real Madrid, the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo, was officially recognized as the best player in the world for the past year at the 22nd official Ballon D’or ceremony held in Zürich, Switzerland on January 13th. The people who vote for the most prestigious football (soccer) award in the world are Coaches, national captains, and specialist journalists. The exceptional #7 of “Los Blancos” surpassed Lionel Messi and Frank Ribery in the vote and Messi and Ribery won 2nd and 3rd place, respectively. There were a lot of speculations before this ceremony about who should win the award, and I can clearly say that the 2013 Ballon D’or will be remembered as the most competitive and most difficultly determined award in the history. The reasons for that were numerous starting with the great performance of Frank Ribery in his club F.C. Bayern Munich, winning every possible championship (4), going through Messi’s numerous injuries, and ending up with the outstanding individual performance of CR7.
The French winger, Ribery, managed to reach the FIFA Ballon D’or short-list after playing a major role in the exceptional 2012/2013 season that his club team F.C. Bayern Munich had, winning all 4 possible championships (Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, DFL-Supercup and Champions League). There were a lot of people believing that Frank deserved the Ballon D’or for this past year, but my personal opinion is that despite his important contribution, his individual statistics and performance were not on the phenomenal and outstanding level that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been performing in the last 5 years. The numbers speak for themselves while the winner CR7 had 69 goals and 15 assists in only 56 appearances, and the Argentinian, Messi, had 42 goals and 15 assists in 45 appearances. Ribery managed to find the net only 22 times and assisted for another 18 out of 52 appearances.
Many believe that, besides his outstanding performance throughout the whole year, what really won Cristiano Ronaldo the award was his tremendous influence and contribution to Portugal’s qualification for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. The Portuguese winger/forward scored once for the 1-0 win against Sweden in the first leg, and scored three times in the exciting 2-3 win in the second leg stamping Portugal’s passport to Brazil.
This was Cristiano’s second Ballon D’or after winning his first one in 2008, which many consider as one of the most successful seasons in Ronaldo’s career. However, this win by CR7 stops the hegemony established by Lionel Messi in the last 4 years and makes us look forward to this upcoming year and the performance of these two phenomenal players as well as all others that can bring a surprise for the FIFA 2014 Ballon D’or.