Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has revealed that he would rather not see either Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award, as he feels certain other individuals are more deserved.
Speaking to his club’s official website, as relayed by the Daily Mail, the 63-year-old told how it was often easy to pick one of football’s two phenomenons when it came to such decisions, but that one of the candidates from Germany’s World Cup winning squad should instead get the nod.
Van Gaal quotes
Van Gaal himself is on the shortlist for the FIFA World Coach of the Year, thanks largely to his performance with the Netherlands at this summer’s World Cup, where he guided them to the semi-finals.
And, as has become commonplace over the course of his managerial career, the now-United manager has gone against the grain with his choice for the ultimate prize.
"Most of the time it is always the well known players [who win the trophy]," Van Gaal claimed.
Article continues below
"I don't think you can compare players in different positions. It is more for the football world and outside world than for other things I believe. I think it will be Ronaldo or Messi but I want to say that you have to win something.
"And the best thing to win is the World Cup so I hope it will be a German player because they deserve it.
"In Germany, the level of the Bundesliga matches is also very high so I think it should be a German player."
In total Germany have six members of the squad which won football’s biggest trophy in Brazil this summer on the Ballon d’Or shortlist, with Mario Gotze, Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos featuring.
Yet, when personal stats are taken into account, and then placed ahead of the significance of one major trophy, it could be argued that they all pale in comparison to Ronaldo and Messi, who have once more dominated the world scene with their exploits over the past year.
Ronaldo vs Messi
Since winning the Ballon d’Or for only the second time in his career earlier this year Ronaldo has been unrelenting in his approach on the pitch, and his efforts in last season’s Champions League were an overriding factor in Real Madrid finally winning their tenth European crown. This season he’s on course to break even more records, and the fact that he’s netted 23 goals in 17 appearances across all competitions is hard to overlook.
Messi on the other hand may not be riding so high as his Portuguese rival, but nonetheless his stats continue to be an attraction to marvel at. A rare trophy-less season at the Nou Camp last term could cost him the chance to win the Ballon d’Or for a fourth time, but he looks resurgent under Luis Enrique, and came within a whisker of guiding Argentina to World Cup glory, winning the Golden Ball in the process.