Manuel Neuer (GK, Bayern Munich, GER)
If a goalkeeper should win the award it should definitely be Manuel Neuer. Manuel Neuer has had an amazing 2014 as a goalkeeper, he won the World Cup back in July and was able to shut out Argentina for 120 minutes, he also took the award for best goalkeeper in the World Cup and had an amazing season with his club Bayern Munich, HOWEVER, there is a large reason why he won’t win it this year and that is because most of what Manuel Neuer was able to accomplish was due to an amazingly solid Bayern Munich defense, a solid Germany team and a lack of strong opponents. Manuel Neuer is known for running out of his box and making ridiculous clearances deep into the field. While this might look amazing, you have to remember that he usually does this against small teams like FC Augsburg of Mainz 05 which cannot be compared to a team like Real Madrid or Barcelona who would absolutely take advantage of a situation that risky. While Neuer had a great year, I just don’t believe that he makes the cut for a Ballon D’or.
Lionel Messi (CF, Barcelona, ARG)
Argentine Lionel Messi, widely regarded as the world’s best player and one of the best in the history of the sport has had a 2014 that will be forever memorable. You could remember it as one of his best years or a year that really was unable to deliver everything in Messi’s potential. Lionel Messi started 2014 with one objective in mind, the UEFA Champions League and the FIFA World Cup. As the months went on Lionel Messi found his Barcelona side out of the champions league due to Atletico Madrid, unable to win the Spanish league due to a 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid which sent them without any trophies due to Atletico clinching the league. Messi was also unable to perform on one of the biggest stages of world football, the World Cup. Messi started out his world cup great, scoring a goal against bosnia and herzegovina and a late goal against Iran which gave Argentina the Victory in what should have been an easy win that resulted being only a 1-0 victory for the “albiceleste”. After this he was able to net two goals against Nigeria in a 3-2 victory. Argentina advanced with nine points and then was able to beat Switzerland 1-0 in extra time due to an assist from the one and only Lionel Messi. Thats when his world cup basically ended. Don’t get me wrong, Messi was a key part to Argentina in the following games and was the reason they were able to play well, but when you’re the world’s best player you have to give your most amazing play in such a large tournament, you also have to be able to provide magic and always be precise in finishing, something that Messi was unable to do. Messi missed a close goal in the final against Germany and really was not a part of the game. He did win the ” Best player in the World Cup ” award but really it meant nothing to him since he was unable to lift the one he cared about the most. After the world cup Messi was able to break two records, ” Most goals in the Champions League “, and was able to break Telmo Zarra’s record of 251 goals with a hat trick ( 3 goals or more ) in the Camp Nou, he also has 7 assists vs Ronaldo’s 8. These are records that were broken this year but only required a few goals from Messi. Messi is personally my favorite player but this Year I just don’t think he had a good enough year to deserve the Ballon D’or. Messi still has many chances to prove himself in the continuation of the Champions league and the 2015 Copa America.
Cristiano Ronaldo (LW, Real Madrid, POR)
What a year Cristiano Ronaldo has had, he seems to be unstoppable this year, at least with Real Madrid, his performance at the World Cup was everything but memorable. This however is immediately overshadowed by his performances at the Champions league in which he won the best European player award, he was also able to score a penalty in the final of the Champions League vs Atletico Madrid in which he increased his reputation as “Penaldo,” he was still able to deliver solid performances over the course of the 2014 Champions League in which he scored 17 goals and was able to claim ” Best player of the 2013-14 Champions League”. Ronaldo has also recently been unstoppable with his club Real Madrid who are currently ranked the best in the world by the Football Club World Ranking. Ronaldo has been able to score 25 goals in 15 games and a total of 8 assists which is the top amount for both statistics so far. Overall Ronaldo has had a great year and does not seem to be slowing down. Ronaldo is 29 years old and while most 29 year olds seem to slow down and deteriorate, Cristiano Ronaldo seems to be playing better. This is why Cristiano Ronaldo without a doubt will win the Ballon D’or this year which will leave Lionel Messi wanting more from 2015.
In the end it is inevitable that Ronaldo will win this years award. Ronaldo has been excelling with his club and has simply been having the season of his life. While Ronaldo continues to shine, Messi continues to dazzle us with his amazing speed, dribbling and vision. However this year he hasn’t lived up to what everyone expected. Had Messi won the world cup in July he would definitely win his 5th Ballon D’or unfortunately Mario Gotze’s game winning goal crushed that opportunity and left Lionel Messi with a Golden Ball award which he quickly got rid of as soon as he left the awards podium. Manuel Neuer had a good year but since he had a strong team with a good defense it is very unlikely he will win it, especially since he hasn’t played like the legend USSR goalkeeper Lev Yashin. 2014 has been a year of amazing football and amazing heights, hopefully we will see world class football in 2015.