It looks like the invitations for the Englishmen got lost in the post yet again. What’s new, pussycat?
However, what really gets my goat is the absence, or should I say obvious exclusion of Luis Suarez from the list. Yes, he did channel his inner Hannibal Lecter yet again during the 2014 World Cup, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was far and away the standout player in the English Premier League for the 2013-2014 season. A moment of madness really should not invalidate his footballing merits. Whatever happened to the concept of fair play? Or is FIFA scared he might actually win the award if he was included in the nominees?
Another notable absentee from the list is Godin. An integral player in Atletico Madrid’s La Liga winning-campaign last season and the scorer of the goal that almost won them the Champions League is not deemed worthy enough of a nomination? Rubbish.
Apart from that World Cup-winning goal, I have to say that Mario Goetze has had an unremarkable season as a whole. But fine, I will throw the kid a bone as he is unlikely to win the award, anyway.
Speaking of unremarkable seasons, while there is no denying the genius of Andres Iniesta, his nomination puzzled me a bit, as by his standards, he has had quite an awful season. And the same could be said with regards the whole La Roja squad, as only Sergio Ramos and Diego Costa joins Iniesta in the list. What a fall from the ex-World Champions.
Yaya Toure’s nomination has made a lot of people go “WTF?”, and I have to admit that it confused me too—that is, until I saw the stat that he has actually completed the most number of passes in the course of the 2013-2014 season. The runner-up? Midfield Monster Toni Kroos. Props to him, then.
You know which player really should be winning these types of awards? Philipp Lahm. An unbelievable talent and such a competent leader, and yet his stealth is what prevents him from being recognized as a mainstream great. I shall consider it a major miracle if he ends up in the Top 3, let alone wins it.
It’s not at all surprising that 6 Germans have made it to the list. After all, Die Mannschaft have dethroned the Spanish NT as the Darlings of the Football World with the efficiency only the Germans can boast of. Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos all deserved their nominations, and it honestly wouldn’t surprise me if one of them manages to sneak into the Top 3. However, the one German that is the sentimental favourite of hardcore football fans to win it all is none other than…
Manuel Neuer. Yes, the German goalkeeper. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past year or so, he is now widely considered to be the best goalkeeper in the world. Iker Casillas who? The hashtag #NeuerForBallonDOr trended for hours on Twitter after the Nominations List has been released. If only this was open for public vote, Neuer would have already won it by a landslide.
Not to take anything away from Cristiano and Messi, but what would giving them another Ballon D’Or really prove, anyway? The whole world already knows that they can score loads of goals and shatter records, so isn’t it about time that another footballer gets recognized for his merits?
Prediction: Cristiano, Messi and Manuel Neuer will be the Top 3. As for the winner, I reckon it will be a toss-up between Cristiano and Neuer. My head says Cristiano will take it based on his sheer popularity but my heart says Neuer deserves it more. Way more.
Come on players and journalists, open up your eyes and see beyond the goals and the flash. Vote for Neuer and Save the award’s credibility. You know it makes sense.