There will always be a lot of competition for the Ballon d’Or, but Cristiano Ronaldo should have the award locked up as we round out 2014.
After Lionel Messi had a stranglehold on the award given out to the best player in the world, Ronaldo topped his individual rival and earned the trophy in 2013. It now seems the Real Madrid and Portugal star is destined to defend his title as the best in the sport.
Coming into the current club season, this was far from guaranteed. Sure, he was La Liga’s leading scorer while helping Real Madrid take home the Champions League title. However, he could not bring home a league title with his team experiencing an early exit in the World Cup. This certainly set him back in the race for the individual award.
Germany’s World Cup title allowed a bunch of candidates to enter the race like Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger. Still, the victory was a real team effort with none of these players really standing out as one of the best in the world.
In fact, the top contender for the Ballon d’Or from Germany is goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
The problem is a goalkeeper simply does not rack up enough stats to truly be in consideration for this type of award, whether that is fair or not.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi also helped himself during the World Cup. The electric player scored four goals in the tournament while leading Argentina to an appearance in the finals. His efforts on the international stage—plus the name recognition from past success—should make him a top contender.
Then again, Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti does not see it that way. He explained in a press conference, “Ronaldo has done everything to win it. Then there could be Germany players because they won the World Cup. I don’t see other players who can be on the list.”
The reason for this mindset is because of how well Ronaldo has played over the first few months of the 2014-15 season.
In 10 La Liga matches, the 29-year-old star has been at a different level than the rest of his competition.
Cristiano Ronaldo in La Liga this season: 10 games 18 goals 5 assists 27 chances created.
Against Rayo Vallecano Saturday, Ronaldo made big contributions without even looking impressive,
Not a vintage night by any means for Ronaldo, but he still ends up with a goal and two assists…
His 18 goals are six more than anyone else in the top five European leagues, and he has earned by far the best averaging rating with a 9.07 out of 10, according to WhoScored.com.
At this point in his career, he is in complete control whenever he steps on the pitch and is clearly playing like the best in the world. Ronaldo even now has the mindset to join the list of the greatest ever to play the game, via FIFA.com:
I always want to be the best, that is what I work towards every day. I respect what people think and I am making my own story bit by bit. I still have a long way to go and when I finish my career I can look at my stats to see if I am amongst the best in history. I am sure I will be.
Although he could not get Portugal out of the group stage at the World Cup, he has had enough team success with Real Madrid in the Champions League to make up for it. The squad currently sits on top of the La Liga table this season as well.
Add this to his individual performances in all competitions, and it is clear Ronaldo should be awarded his second Ballon d’Or trophy with real in as many years.