Real Madrid have leapt to the defence of their prized superstar, Cristiano Ronaldo, in reaction to comments made by UEFA president Michel Platini regarding who should win the 2014 Ballon d’Or.
Speaking to German news agency SID (h/t the official Bundesliga website), Platini proclaimed it should be a German that wins the award after their World Cup triumph in Brazil.
Real Madrid released an official statement in protest of Platini‘s logic on Friday:
[Real’s] surprise at the repeated comments regarding his personal preferences over the choice of the winner of the Ballon d’Or, particularly given that he is the head of European football’s principal body, where our understanding is that the strictest impartiality should prevail.
Secondly, the Ballon d’Or is an individual rather than collective prize which is awarded annually to the best player in the world, and we believe that, in order to maintain its prestige, those who participate in the vote should take into account exclusively the individual professional achievements of the players.
It’s a debate that’s regularly brought to light at this time of year. Should the Ballon d’Or vote be based on team or individual achievements?
Real’s statement highlights Ronaldo‘s individual milestones, which have led to their own share of team accolades, not least of which was the 2013-14 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid:
We believe that Cristiano Ronaldo has without doubt had his best ever professional year individually, and has claimed the Champions League, the Golden Shoe and the record for the highest goalscorer in an edition of the Champions League, as well as the Copa del Rey and the top-scorer award in La Liga.
In the current season, he has won the European Super Cup, scoring both goals in the match, and is achieving spectacular figures such as his 20 goals in the first 12 matchdays of La Liga, which confirm his great moment of form and ensure that, more than ever, he is deserving of the Ballon d’Or.
It isn’t the first time Platini has been criticised for an outspoken view, where others may remain on more neutral ground. Earlier this week, Alvaro Arbeloa joined the pro-Ronaldo brigade in questioning the ex-France attacker’s thought process, per Spanish newspaper Marca.
The Bundesliga report quoted Plaitini saying: “There are lots of players who would deserve to win the award. But in my opinion, in a World Cup year the prize should go to a World Cup winner.”
Granted, the World Cup is a rare event that only makes its way into the football calendar once every four years, but is that reason alone to pick one player out of the winning team’s lineup?
After all, if it were an underdog minnow such as Costa Rica or Greece who emerged as victors in Brazil, would that mean Bryan Ruiz or Georgios Samaras would automatically receive favour in the trophy pursuit?
Los Merengues would certainly appear to think not, and they are doing all within their ability to take the initiative in turning votes back in the favour of Ronaldo.
The Madrid maverick has undoubtedly enjoyed another unstoppable year, and his goal in the 1-0 Champions League win over Basel on Wednesday brought his 2014 tally up to a rounded 50.
It’s become commonplace for attacking players to receive more attention in the Ballon d’Or reckoning, too. Bayern Munich and Germany No. 1 Manuel Neuer is perhaps the player receiving most support who isn’t a forward.
Under its former “FIFA World Player of the Year” moniker, only two defensive players ever won the award: Lothar Matthaus in 1991 and Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
Platini has done his part in revealing where he believes the voting process should be aimed, but it will come to light in January just how influential his word is regarding who takes home the Ballon d’Or.