Whilst it is certainly time for Lionel Messi to give up his Ballon d'Or crown, it would be an utter travesty if it is Franck Ribery who usurps the throne.

So far is the French winger from being the best player in the world, it is a feasible suggestion that he is not even the best player at his own club. In fact, I'd go as far to argue that he is not even in the top five.

Football is a team game, and Ribery's Bayern Munich side have been the dominant force in Europe in a season in which they have claimed every trophy they could and swept aside every time that has come within touching distance of them.

They are a true collective, and it is their strength in depth that has been the key to their continued brilliance. As their squad goes, only the loss of Manuel Neuer would in any way weaken their squad. If Ribery was lost, however, Pep Guardiola has at his disposal a wealth of talent that could easily replace him.

That is not the case with the two actual best in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Without Ronaldo for a long period, Real Madrid would struggle. Without Messi for a long period, Barcelona are struggling.

Ribery's potential Ballon d'Or winner status has arisen as the world of football struggles to cope with the idea that a team can excel without one true star at the helm. 

In August he was, ridiculously, awarded the title Best Player in Europe Award for 2012/13, despite him not being Bayern's best player in either the semi-finals (Thomas Muller) and the final (Arjen Robben) of last season's Champions League.

His individual statistics from last season's Champions League pale in comparison to Messi and Ronaldo. Just one goal in the competition compared to Argentine's eight and the Portuguese's 12. 

And it is not as though the award always has to go to a Champions League winner. Despite Chelsea winning it in 2012, Didier Drogba was their highest ranking player in lowly seventh. 

Of the five Bayern Munich players who I'd consider to be better than Ribery, I have already mentioned three.

Manuel Neuer has emerged as one of the finest goalkeepers in the world, and is vital to the side due to the lack of a quality alternative. Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben are both more influential on the big occasions.

Elsewhere, influential captain Philipp Lahm is the heartbeat of the club. Whether at right-back or left-back, poor performances for him are few and far between. And this season he has added another string to his bow with the seamless transition to defensive midfield.

Then there is the wonderful Bastian Schweinsteiger, who makes five. 

Ribery is a talent, of that there is no doubt. His performances for Bayern Munich this year were undoubtedly excellent and there is every chance that, without him, they would not have achieved what they did. 

But has he been the best player in the world in 2013? Simply, no.


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Topics:
Bayern Munich
Franck Ribery
Bundesliga
Football