With less than a week to go until the announcement of the winner of the prestigious Fifa Ballon d’Or 2013, we thought this would be a good time to review the shortlist and check how the betting is going (and watch the finalists highlight reals).
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery were announced as the three nominees for the FIFA Ballon d'Or. From this final shortlist; journalists, national coaches and captains will vote for the winner.
The winner will be unveiled at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala as part of a televised show at the Zurich Kongresshaus on 13 January 2014. If you have any experience of these FIFA events you’ll know that the start time rarely equates to anything interesting happening, and the opulence is quite staggering (nice to know where all the world cup television rights money goes though).
The finalists were compiled (for which read plucked based on marketability) from the 23-man long list (see below for the full list) by the FIFA Football Committee (fat men in suits) and a group of experts from France Football (who used to yield considerably more power over the award before it was merged with FIFA’s world player of the year award in 2010).
So what are the odds on the winner of the 2013 Ballon d’Or?
Spreadex have the best price on the favourite Cristiano Ronaldo with 1/5 on.
Lionel Mess is currently trading at 57/5 on BetFair
Frank Ribery is the long shot, best priced at 14/1 with SkyBet
What have the Ballon d’Or finalists done to deserve the nomination?
Cristiano Ronaldo (or CR7 if you want to sound like a tool)
2013 was another great year for the seemingly unstoppable Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese star grabbed 34 goals in the 2012/13 Liga season, a haul beaten only by Lionel Messi’s 45, and scored a good few more in Europe and for his national team.
Goals aplenty didn’t equate to trophies though. Once again the big two of the league and the European cup evaded Ronaldo and that should surely count against him. After all, what good is being the best player in the world, if you can’t raise your team to win anything. What will count for him though, is Messi’s injuries which have kept him side-lined for a while.
Could this be a classic example of the availability bias helping Ronaldo win, or was he genuinely the best footballer in the world in 2013?
The real highlight of his year though? It has to be the museum he set up in Madeira to honour his favourite subject, himself.
Only 5 EUR entry, what are you doing reading this, get on a plane immediately.
Lionel Messi (the little magician, the football comentators wet dream……he goes by many names)
He’s won an unprecedented four consecutive FIFA Ballon d’Ors and the little guy has showed no sign of letting those standards drop. Topping the La Liga’s scoring charts as Barcelona won the 2012/13 league title. Messi has been just as prolific on the international front, finishing the South American qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup Brazil as the second-highest marksman.
What might count against him is Barcelona’s failure in Europe, although by any standards he wasn’t fit against Bayern Munich, and also the other injuries that have had him out of action for much of this season.
The big question is, should that matter? If you were putting a football team together, who would you rather have in it; Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Unfortunately he doesn’t yet have his own museum, someone better sort that out sharpish.
Franck Ribery (doesn’t have a nickname as far as we can tell, and we don’t want anything based on that underage prostitute scandal used – note that’s underage for a prostitute, not a child)
2012 was a tough year for Franck as Bayern Munich finished runners-up in the Bundesliga, German Cup and UEFA Champions League, but the dangerous France winger and his team came back strong in 2013. He’s upped his game considerably to exorcise those demons and helped his side win all three competitions in 2013, and throwing in the UEFA Super Cup (European footballs Charity Shielf) for good measure. Whilst France haven’t been at their best in qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil he has also shone brighter than most for Les Bleus.
Even if his goal scoring record doesn’t stand up against those of Messi or Ronaldo, Ribery provides; mesmerising dribbles, precise shooting and incredible acceleration all of which make him a key man in the best team of 2013.
He’s already picked up the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for 2013, but does being the stand out player in the stand out team also make him the best player in the world?
Why does no one else have a museum to link to?!
Who were the other runners in the 2013 Ballon d’Or?
The long list, from which the finalists were taken, is below in alphabetical order (or if you’re Welsh, the best first).
Gareth Bale (Wales), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Eden Hazard (Belgium), Zlatan Ibrahimović (Sweden), Andrés Iniesta (Spain), Philipp Lahm (Germany), Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Müller (Germany), Manuel Neuer (Germany), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Özil (Germany), Andrea Pirlo (Italy), Franck Ribéry (France), Arjen Robben (Netherlands), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Thiago Silva (Brazil), Yaya Touré (Côte d’Ivoire), Robin Van Persie (Netherlands), Xavi (Spain).
Think the foremost footballing minds (ex-players, coaches and football writers) in the world have the either or both lists wrong?