What a blockbuster year 2013 was for CR7! The fact his Real Madrid side had a trophy-less campaign is of even greater credit to his stellar performances and standout solo contributions for club and country.
The highly coveted accolade of FIFA Ballon d’Or is an individual award and, one against one, nobody comes close to the Madeira-born celebrity. His staggering statistics for the 11 months prior to the closing date for voting are absolutely astounding! Ronaldo struck 67 goals in 56 appearances – somehow bettering his total tally of 63 in 2012.
All is placed into perspective when fellow contenders Ribéry and Messi managed to net 64 between them! A magnificent term culminated with the talisman’s titanic triple in the 2nd half of that World Cup play-off 2nd leg against Sweden, ensuring supremacy in the superstar showdown with Ibra! More importantly he had single-handedly dragged his nation to next summer’s finals in Brazil!
With football from another planet; this year he has delivered countless exhilarating exhibitions that will forever live in footballing folklore!
For the past 2 years the Ballon D’Or has been a two horse race between the world’s best players, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. This year, however, Franck Ribery has deservedly become the favourite to win it.
He has without a doubt been the most successful of the three nominees! Playing for arguably the best team in the world; winning the Champions League, the Bundesliga, the Super Cup, the Club World Cup and the German Cup.
But, if that’s not enough the fact that he won the European Player of the Year award back in August, beating Messi and Ronaldo has got to give him at least a slight edge over his competitors! A major player in this historic season for Bayern Munich; according to coach Guardiola “This year Franck is one of the reasons why we are where we are”.
Ribery is an outstanding team player, truly worthy of the award!
2013 was not been a good year by Lionel Messi’s standards.
An injury hit campaign saw the Argentinian limited to just 39 goals in 39 appearances for Barcelona, score in 19 consecutive games against every side in La Liga and win the Pichichi – as the golden boot is known in Spain’s top flight – whilst leading Barcelona to yet another league title by a margin of 15 points.
Messi’s poor 2013 continued as Barcelona were mercilessly dumped out of the Champions League by an indomitable Bayern Munich following a shaky display against Paris St Germain. A player’s apparent failings rarely form a solid basis for why they should be awarded honours such as these; however, Messi’s cameo against PSG in April was enough to prove any naysayers of his credentials.
Having seen his side go a goal down, facing elimination from the competition, Messi strapped on his shin-pads and entered the field of play, changing the complexion of the tie by his sheer presence.
Messi battled through injury for the rest of 2013, before returning to Argentina in November to recover fully from the hamstring problems which plagued his year, returning against Getafe in January in an almost boringly predictable fashion; goals in the 89th and 90th proving the worth of the greatest player of all time.
Article: Thomas Dolfi, George Sambrook, Ruairi O’Shea
Photographs: en.wikipedia.org (Main); en.wikipedia.org (Featured).