The winner of the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or will be revealed in just three days now and GiveMeSport rounds up all the arguments for and against each nominee and decides who should be handed football’s most prestigious award this year.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the comfortable favourite for the prize after he broke and/or matched 19 records in 2014 as well as scoring more goals than anyone else for club and country.
The Portuguese forward found the net 55 times in 55 games and his scoring achievements saw him become the fastest player to reach 200 La Liga goals and most goals in one Champions League season.
Top of the charts
And despite being branded something of a selfish player he set up 19 goals for teammates for club and country.
The Real Madrid record breaker also won four trophies in the last 12 months – the UEFA Champions League, Copa Del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.
Article continues below
The World Stage
But the main case against Ronaldo winning the award for a second time running has been his World Cup form.
While fellow candidates Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer made it all the way to the final in Brazil, Ronaldo’s solitary goal and assist did not prove enough to push Portugal out of Group G.
Many onlookers have insisted that in a World Cup year the Ballon d’Or result should be heavily influenced by the performance of the candidates on the biggest stage in world football.
If the judges do choose to pursue such a course of action then they would have no choice but to go with Manuel Neuer who was the standout player in Germany’s World Cup winning side that conceded just four goals.
And although it’s hard to compare his goal scoring tally with that of Messi or Ronaldo he has managed to achieve a world best of 28 clean sheets in 2014.
And a calendar year trophy cabinet that consists of a World Cup and league and cup double could be considered more impressive than Ronaldo’s haul which includes two trophies of considerably lower standing.
Lionel in trophy-less mess
Bringing the candidates’ trophy haul to the foreground is not good news for Lionel Messi though who won absolutely no silverware in 2014.
His 52 goals in 62 appearances in all competitions is also second to Ronaldo’s tally and brought back a lower return in terms of success.
But one thing that Messi does have going for him is the stature of his records.
He may have only broken seven records in 2014 compared to Ronaldo’s 14 but the lasting legacy that he will leave as the all-time top goal scorer for Barcelona and La Liga are perhaps more impressive.
In conclusion though, Ronaldo’s record as fastest player to reach 200 La Liga goals just goes to show that he has more than made up for lost time in the division and proves that he is on course to eventually steal Messi’s records away from him.
The Real Madrid man scored more goals, broke more records and won more trophies this year than any of the other nominees and it would be a scandal to award the Ballon d’Or to anyone else in this author’s opinion.