The 30 man shortlist for the Ballon D’Or is out and like always the Messi vs Ronaldo debates have taken shape. No doubt the best players in the world but there is enough reason to snub both players from getting the top award this year. Yes. You read that right. There are better candidates this year than either Messi or Ronaldo to win the Ballon D’Or. Hopefully the jury see this or else it will simply be another two man show. Here are my top candidates for the top award this year but before that why don’t the top two deserve the award.
Messi was injured but he did take them to the Copa America final only to end up missing a penalty and start a retirement fiasco. His return from injury coincided with a Barca slump which saw them kicked out of the Champions League. Ronaldo may have won a Euro trophy but what was his contribution? Consider he was someone else. Would you still call that great? The honest answer would be no. The question of big games arises but I rest my case. Here are my nominees.
1. Suarez – From biter to racist to a supreme forward, he has indeed had a make-over since he arrived from Liverpool. He arguably deserved Ronaldo’s spot on the top 3 last year and he topped things off with being the top scorer and racking up assists as well. He also led them to the Club World Cup during Messi’s injury so full marks there for Suarez.
2. Griezman – This was a breakout year for him where he changed from a promising player to a great player. He was the top scorer of the Euros and he was pivotal in taking them to the Champions League final. If anyone deserves praise this year, it is him. Forget titles, the journey matters too and this was one hell of a journey.
3. Sergio Ramos/Diego Godin – Defenders are equally important. Atletico kept 24 clean sheets (Oblak was a revelation) and conceded just 18 goals. Godin was the heart of that defense. Real may have stuttered in the start but Ramos has been a key defender and he held his fort towards the end of the campaign to finish on a high.
4. Jamie Vardy/Riyad Mahrez – I am surprised I am talking about them but they deserve this award as much as anyone else. They were not from a big team but they showed the world another underdog story that will be told for years to come. A fairytale come true, they deserve much more
There were a few who I wanted to see on this list but missed. Jan Oblak, N’golo Kante and Mezut Ozil are those but I didn’t see them take the top prize so I’ll leave it at that. Hope that it is a different winner this time.
(This story is published in association with A Voice For The Everyman)