Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1274, (10 - 16 December 2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1274, (10 - 16 December 2015)

Ahram Weekly

No one but Messi

Suarez overlooked as Messi leads the way in the final Ballon d’Or shortlist, reports Marawan Zayed

Al-Ahram Weekly

Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar joined the Argentine mega star Lionel Messi as Luis Suarez, who had an incredible season, missed out.

Messi will be expecting to win his fifth Ballon d’Or this year after losing out to Ronaldo in the last two seasons. Barcelona had an incredible season in which they won the treble thanks to their sublime attacking trio of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. Messi found the back of the net 43 times in the league, 10 goals in the Champions League and five goals in Copa Del Rey to take his tally to 58 goals in 57 outings, in addition to registering more than 20 assists in all competitions.

Brilliant figures accompanied by winning every single trophy surely means that very few people would argue that Messi fully deserves to win it this year. Even Ronaldo himself sees little competition this year despite claiming that he had his best ever season individually. But he knows that winning trophies play a key role in winning the Ballon d’Or.

“To be honest I think Messi is going to win this year because this kind of trophy, it depends on votes,” the former Manchester United forward said earlier this month. “You win competitions, you win the Champions League, you win the league in terms of individual play. I did probably the best season of my career which is good and I was the highest scorer in Europe but it’s all about votes,” added the Portuguese superstar.

To be honest, Ronaldo has got a case as the 2014/2015 was really one of his best ever seasons if not the best, as he said. Ronaldo struck 48 times in the league, 10 times in the Champions League and one in the cup and played a key role in guiding Portugal to Euro 2016.

However, his team’s failure to win a single trophy certainly means that Ronaldo might even finish third in the final shortlist as Neymar joined Messi in winning every single trophy they took part in during the season. The Brazilian magician is destined for greatness and is probably the only player who’s capable of one day surpassing Ronaldo and Messi’s figures given that he’s only 23 years old. Neymar found the back of the net 22 times in the league, 10 times in the Champions League like his two rivals and struck 39 times in 51 appearances in all competitions in the season.

Neymar has no doubts that Messi will be named the winner this year after leading the team to the treble. “Messi is the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or for the season he had. For me, he is the No 1.”

Both Messi and Neymar expressed their sadness at seeing Suarez miss out on a place in the final shortlist. “I am happy to be once more among the best three, and to go to another gala,” Messi said.

“Suarez also deserved to be among the three best, but that is to take nothing away from Cristiano Ronaldo, who also deserved it.”

Neymar echoed the words of his teammate as he admitted he wanted the final shortlist to be filled by Barca’s trio after the season they had. “I believe that the image of the Ballon d’Or should have been Messi, Luis Suarez and me. I would have loved to be there all together,” Neymar said. “To be nominated for the Ballon d’Or means everything. It is an honour for me.”

Messi’s unbelievable goal against Atletico Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey has also been nominated for the Puskas Award for best goal of the year. It is joined by Alessandro Florenzi’s wonder goal from the touchline in Roma’s Champions League match against Barcelona in September and a bicycle kick scored by Wendell Lira of Brazilian club Goianesia. However, the Argentine is expected to notch first place as his goal was certainly and utterly out of this planet.

It’s fair to say that it’ll be a season to remember for Messi if he manages to win both the Ballon d’Or and the Puskas Award to add them to the treble.

The writer is a freelance jornalist.

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