Every New Year commences with the biggest buzz in football world. The debate starts with “Who should win the Ballon D’Or ??” and ends with “Did he really deserve it ?” Cristiano Ronaldo(Real Madrid) won it this year after beating the likes of Lionel Messi(FC Barcelona) and Franck Ribéry (FC Bayern). Ronaldo was truly outstanding in 2013 with 69 goals and 17 assists . Captain, leader and legend, without his brilliance it is very unlikely Portugal would have qualified for the World Cup. But do these achievements really made him a deserving candidate for the coveted Ballon D’Or? Well, his adversary Franck Ribéry doesn’t thinks so. He clearly stated a few days after the ceremony that Cristiano didn’t deserve the award. But why does the French winger thinks so?
According to him, he deserved it more than anyone else because he helped the Bavarians win the treble last season. So, which factors actually decide the winner of this prestigious award? Well, it is an issue to ponder upon. Ballon D’Or is truly an individual award, but does that justifies Ronaldo’s win ? Bayern were ruthless last season and Ribery was outstanding throughout the campaign. He created more goal scoring opportunities for his teammates rather than scoring himself. He’s the best player from indisputably the best team in world football right now, and that deserves recognition, even in spite of his relatively lesser prolificacy in attack when compared to Ronaldo and Messi, whose scoring records it must be admitted are otherworldly.
Ronaldo’s tally of 34 goals in last season’s La Liga is brilliant, and the player deserves high praise for having one of the most prolific domestic seasons in the Spanish top flight. However, his record sounds much less impressive when considering that 19 of them came when Real Madrid had already taken the lead. The reality is that although Ronaldo came up big in some important games, he often went missing when his team needed him most: The Portuguese was sent off in the Copa del Rey final and was a passenger in both legs of the Champions League semifinals, but for a single moment in which Real were gifted a goal from a weak back pass.
Similarly, Messi recorded a brilliant tally of 46 goals in last season’s Spanish Primera. But his most common goal was one that made the score 2-0. Only 20 of his goals came with his team level or behind; 26 were simply piling the pain onto opponents that were often already defeated. To his credit, Messi’s tally was not in vain as was Ronaldo’s—the Argentine scored some winners and was rewarded when he lifted the title at season’s end, whereas CR7 finished the 2013 calendar year trophy less.
Goals and assists are just the beginning of an individual’s contribution to team football. The debate started long ago and it will keep on trending every year. Goals along with trophies or just the goals ?? Are some players so obsessed with Ballon D’or that only goals matter for them ? Or is it a dream for a player like Ribery who worked relentlessly for his team overcoming his ego but still couldn’t manage to win it?