It's that time of year again. That time when the footballing world decides who have been the stand out performers in the sport.
As I speak, the vote for the FIFA Ballon d'Or is entering it's final week after having been extended until the 29th December.
For the last four years the award has been dominated by Barcelona's majestic Argentine Lionel Messi who has performed at the top level week after week.
However, a slight drop in form as well as some untimely injuries surely means that this year's trophy will go to someone else.
The two current favourites are Franck Ribery and Cristiano Ronaldo. Although Ribery was an important part of Bayern Munich's treble winning side from last season, I believe that Ronaldo is the more deserving of the two.
Ok, so he hasn't won any trophies this year, that's fair enough. But should the success of a player's team really be the deciding factor in the awarding of what is essentially an individual trophy ? Logic says that it shouldn't.
Ribery, it has to be said, did play a huge part in Jupp Heynckes' all conquering side, but you could argue that certain others deserve more praise, such as Arjen Robben who seemed to always pop up with something special at the right time.
It is not Ronaldo's fault that his teammates could not follow his example and perform to the highest of their abilities. It must also be added that several internal feuds disrupted Real Madrid's quest for success last season.
So, let's concentrate on the individuals in hand rather than their respective teams' palmares. The Frenchman leads the way in the assists rankings the since the start of last season with 33 to Ronaldo's 21, but that is seen as his forte so you would think that his advantage would be more than just 12. It is the goals stats that puts Ronaldo well and truly ahead in this battle.
While Ribery has a respectful 29 goals over the same period, it is nothing compared to the Real Madrid superstar's 99. To put into perspective how astounding his goalscoring feats are, here are some facts : since the start of 2013, Ronaldo has scored more than Ribery and Messi put together.
Since the start of this season alone, CR7 has scored eight more than Ribery has since the start of the season before. His strike rate is astonishing, and what is more incredible is that he seems to be be improving with age.
Although this argument would arguably be enough to convince the voters that the Portuguese is that little bit more deserving, it is Tuesday night's events in Stockholm that really reinforces my opinion.
At one point in the play-off between Sweden and Portugal, the side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic found themselves one goal away from the World Cup finals, leading 2-1 with less than 20 minutes to go, with the visitors well and truly on the back foot.
It has been said in the past that Cristiano Ronaldo does not turn up when it really matters. Not this time. With 2 goals in the space of three minutes, adding to his earlier opener, his hat-trick turned the match as well as the tie right back in Portugal's favour.
Such was the nature of his performance that after his second strike, Ibrahimovic, whose ego is probably the biggest in football, was seen to applaud Ronaldo. It is the opinion of many that the Madrid man carried his otherwise average national side to Brazil.... and it is hard to argue with such a belief.
Conspiracy theorists will say that FIFA's decision to prolong the voting for the Ballon d'or is just to assure that Ronaldo wins the trophy, but taking into account Sepp Blatter'srecent well documented opinions of him, that is rather hard to believe.
The trophy will be awarded on January 13 2014, along with several other awards celebrating the year's other top performers. I want to see Cristiano smiling with the golden ball on that very day. It is the least that he deserves. I just hope that the footballing world shares my belief.
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