The 23 man strong shortlist for the 2012 Ballon d’Or has been announced and it is no surprise to see a large number of Barça players featured.
Five Barcelona players help to make up the list that features twelve players from La Liga, including six Real Madrid players and one from Atlético Madrid, but there can of course only be one winner and the purpose of this article is to try and determine who that winner will be.
There is a Sky Sports program called Revista De La Liga that broadcasts every Tuesday night. Last night the pundits (host and ex-player Scott Minto, Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, ex-player Terry Gibson and Scottish journalist Graham Hunter) were discussing the shortlist and Hunter mentioned the criteria that the judges are presented with and that he believed this criteria favours Messi over Ronaldo. Here is the link to the episode but unfortunately you have to be a UK Sky subscriber to view it.
Intrigued, I then asked Hunter (@BumperGraham) via Twitter if this criteria was public and he said no but over time he will tweet it. I, for one, can’t wait until the criteria is released and to see if it does in fact favour Messi over any other candidate.
But for now, it is a level playing field and let’s see each player’s credentials.
Via The Guardian
The 24 year old has been at the heart of the Barcelona and Spanish national team midfield for years now. Playing the crucial Pivot role he is in charge of converting defence to attack as quickly as possible and is probably more impressive in the red and blue of Barça where he plays this role alone, compared to his pairing with Xabi Alonso for Spain. The midfielder seems to go from strength to strength and has earned the respect of his team mates that he deserves but doesn't always receive from the media and the fans.
Via The Telegraph
World Cup winner, double European Championships winner, winner of the 2012 UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, second place in the 2010 FIFA Ballon d'Or and part of the UEFA Team of the Year for the past three years. Andrés Iniesta is a phenomenon and if he were to win this year's award it would be fully deserved. The Barcelona number eight has been at the top of the game for a long time now and makes up a third of the Barça "Holy Trinity". Technique, passing precision, raw talent and finesse all attributes Iniesta holds and has been the scorer of some of Barcelona's and Spain's most important goals in their history. Iniesta would be my choice this year as I feel the award should go to a Spanish player this year.
Via The Guardian
How do you describe Lionel Messi? Pep Guardiola said "don't try to describe him just watch him." But I will try. Winner of the award for the last three years, Messi is on the verge of history in becoming the first player to win four consecutive Ballon d'ors. A record he can add to the growing collection he has already broken. This year alone he has become the all-time top scorer for Barcelona in official games, scored the most UEFA Champions League goals in a single season and hit 72 goals in all competitions. The greatest in the world, if not ever, is surely the favourite to win the accolade even if Barcelona didn't win either La Liga or the Champions League last season.
So those are the candidates. Personally I would like to see the order as:
But I am predicting Messi to scoop his fourth and make history: