We take a final look at the three main candidates for the 2014 Ballon d’Or award.
On Monday, January 12th we’ll finally know the winner of the prestigious Ballon d’Or award which is awarded annually to the best football player in Europe, UK gambling news reports. Lionel Messi managed to scoop 4 awards consecutively stretching from 2009 until 2012 for his tremendous footballing efforts.
However last year his greatest competitor Ronaldo finally got his hands on the accolade for the first time since winning it in 2008. Now it seems as if the Portuguese star is gearing up to clinch the award for a third time, despite the fact that Germany goalkeeper Neuer has been lauded as the one that should claim it.
Messi is ranked as complete outsider for the prestigious accolade
There is no denying Messi’s talent on the pitch. Once he retires, which might be still years from now, he will easily go down as one of the greatest footballer to have ever graced the football world. Whatever skills we have to talk about they are all out of this world, however the previous year hasn’t been that kind to the Argentine.
He got injured during the first half of last season and was out for two months. The injury caused him to lose momentum and the sheer force to conquer everything both domestically in Spain and in the Champions League. He notched only 41 goals throughout the entire campaign last season, which is quite low for his standards.
• Ronaldo favorite to win the award for third time
• Many believe Neuer deserves the award
• Messi unlikely to win his 5th Ballon d’Or
And then there was the World Cup in Brazil at which he didn’t shine as everyone had hoped he would. Messi showed sparks of superb talent at times, however once the final came he was rendered quiet. Due to his disappointing World Cup efforts and lack of spectacular football in the league, Bet365 has given him completely outsider odds 41.00 (40/1). Had he lifted the winner’s trophy in Brazil, the story would have probably been completely different.
Neuer second favorite to win Ballon d’Or
Manuel Neuer has been an outstanding player last year. He relished in his role as the main shot-stopper of the German national league and then he put on an even greater performance when he represented his country at last summer’s World Cup. The greater majority of shots that were directed towards the Germany goal he was able to stop and what is even more astonishing is that he looked like an attacker at times when he would charge on the ball.
The media and fans alike praised his heroics at the World Cup, which is why he started to emerge as the one of the main contenders for the Ballon d’Or. Currently, online sportsbooks in EU rank him as the second favorite to clinch the award right after Ronaldo. Bet365 has given him odds of 4.33 (10/3), but considering how dominant he was all throughout the year many sporting critics argue that he should be higher up the leaderboards for the prize.
Ronaldo in pole position to land his third Ballon d’Or
The Portuguese winger was finally awarded his second Ballon d’Or award last year after being in the shadow of his great adversary Messi for four years. And now once again he is favorite to claim the prize for a second time in a row and third overall. Last season he won two big trophies with Real Madrid which included the Copa del Rey and more importantly the Champions League, which was in fact the 10th title Los Blancos claimed.
In the process of sealing those two trophies, he also managed to score 51 times across all competitions while in La Liga he scored a total of 31 times. All of these stats helped propel him to be chosen as one of the three finalists for the Ballon d’Or. Bet365 has earmarked Ronaldo as the main players to seal the award 1.18 (2/11), per EU gambling laws.
Although the winger didn’t have a particularly impressive World Cup campaign, all of his other efforts in the league and the Champions League have been out of this world. Since the season started, he has notched an incredible 33 goals for Real Madrid in all competitions, while in the league alone he has scored 26 times which has led to speculation that he might usurp Messi’s record of 50 goals in the 2011-2012 season.