FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013: Who should win?

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The Ballon d’Or was an award given out by France Football magazine from 1956 to 2009. The FIFA World Player of the Year was an award given out by FIFA and consisted of a voting process involving coaches and captains from all international teams. Both awards were given out to deserving winners and its fair share of controversial winners throughout their history. Since this wasn’t enough, France Football and FIFA decided to join forces and create a new award called the FIFA Ballon d’Or. The winner would be decided by coaches and captains from all international teams and journalists from around the world. Since its inception, Lionel Messi has been the unbeatable force, winning all three editions so far.

While nobody should deny Messi’s one-in-a-million class, this year the award could be seen as one of the toughest to hand out. This award has gained a lot of criticism because of it’s “lack of rules.” Some people believe that the players should be judged by the season and some people believe a “calendar year” is the right way to go. Also, some people believe titles are more important than goals/assists, while others just trust the stats instead of the titles. If we analyze all three editions so far, Messi won the 1st one with only a League title, a Spanish Super Cup and the European Golden Shoe. Compared to the other two nominees (his teammates) he obviously performed better, so there’s no doubt he was deserving of the award. However, compared to Messi, Diego Milito of Inter Milan won the Treble, the Supercoppa Italiana, the FIFA Club World Cup and scored 30 goals that same season. Situations like these are the ones that make the world of football very upset.

The 2nd edition of the award shouldn’t cause any arguing for people. Messi won the League, the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and scored over 50 goals. The balance between stats and trophies was perfect and he absolutely deserved the award. Last year’s edition was another controversial one. Messi only won the Spanish Cup, the Spanish Supercup and the UEFA Super Cup. While trophies are trophies, these three aren’t usually seen as major trophies. On the other hand, Messi did score 73 goals that season, a record worthy of recognition. That same season, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba from Chelsea FC took home the FA Cup, the UEFA Champions League and both of them scored an important number goals in order to win those titles.

As you can see, the rules aren’t quite clear on how you decide a winner. There seems to be an irregularity between trophies won and individual player statistics. While this year the rules haven’t changed, except for the possibility of five finalists instead of three, many are still debating who will be crowned on January 13th. The long list of nominees is already available and it seems like Franck Ribéry, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are assured to be on the top three/five. Let’s take a look at how each player did the past season.

Messi: 60 goals and the League title.

Ronaldo: 55 goals and the Spanish Supercup.

Ribéry: Bundesliga, German Cup, German Supercup, UEFA Champions League and 13 goals (high number considering he’s not a striker like Messi or Ronaldo.)

If we take it by stats, Messi is the clear winner, if we take it by trophies, Ribéry is the clear winner. However, if there wasn’t this confusion between a calendar year or a season, and the mentioned stats/trophies debate, things would be easier for the voters and a little bit more fair. People who value the calendar year are creating a campaign for Ronaldo, as he has scored 62 goals in 2013, but he hasn’t won any trophies this year.

It’s not going to be an easy decision and the winner will sure generate controversy in some way. My suggestion to France Football and FIFA is that they should review the way the evaluate the players in order to give the award to the most ideal candidate. Save the date: January 13th, 2014.

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