The Ballon d’Or 2014 may be currently welcoming a host of superstars in anticipation of tonight’s presentation, but there’s one renowned player who won’t be getting amongst the excitement.
Van Persie injury
Manchester United star Robin van Persie, who is nominated for the Puskas Award for the best goal, virtue of his fine looping header against Spain in the Netherlands opening game of the World Cup this summer, confirmed via Twitter that he won’t be travelling to Zurich due to an injury.
The Dutch striker sustained an ankle knock during the 1-0 home loss to Stoke City this weekend, and has reportedly been advised by medical staff that it would be unwise to travel. As a result he’s refrained from flying to Switzerland, and compatriot Ruud Gullit will be on hand to collect his award for him should he beat his rivals.
Rodriguez and Roche
Of course there’s every chance he won’t be able to do that, with both James Rodriguez and Stephanie Roche vying for the prestigious award themselves. Van Persie’s header might have been a joy to behold but the strikes that came from both Rodriguez and Roche have garnered plenty of plaudits themselves, leaving the verdict well and truly out with regards to who is the favourite.
Rodriguez’s goal also came courtesy of the World Cup this summer, with the Colombia international slamming a rocket home from outside the box that helped his nation get past Uruguay in the latter stages of the competition.
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Many would argue that Roche’s was equally spectacular, despite the fact it played out before a tiny crowd in a small womens football fixture in Ireland. Not only did Roche - who has since earned herself a spell in France with ASPTT Albi show extreme control to juggle the ball over her marker, but she also found the top corner with a technique that is rarely seen.
The main prize
Yet the main attraction for tonight will surely be the Ballon d’Or itself, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer all competing for the honours. Of the three Ronaldo appears to be the favourite for the crown, with the Portuguese forward bidding to make it two in two years.