Who Will Win the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or Award for Best Player of the Year?

Manuel Neuer for 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or award for best player of the yearLionel Messi has won it four times and Cristiano Ronaldo could win his third, but will it not be a little unfair if Manuel Neuer doesn't win the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or best player of the year award? The German has won almost every trophy in the span of two years and there is no other goalkeeper in the world at present, who can challenge him at the top.

So the real question is: Is it really an award for the best player? What actually is the criteria to compare a striker to a keeper? Isn't saving goals as important as scoring them? Therefore, the FIFA Ballon d'Or is more like a popularity contest, honouring the favorite player of the majority.

Leo Messi and Ronaldo are the usual suspects in every year's final shortlist. No one can deny the fact that they are the best offensive players of this era and they have got their names etched in the history books with their accomplishments. It is unfair to compare other players with both these legends. They are in a league of their own.

Last year was one of the best years of Cristiano Ronaldo's career. He scored a whopping 51 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid in the 2013/14 campaign and he hasn't slowed down this season too. He is certainly getting better with age as he has already scored 33 goals in all competitions so far in the 2014/15 season. But the Portuguese skipper was unable to inspire his national team of mediocre players in Brazil. Portugal's performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup was abysmal, but all players and the coach need to share the blame. Cristiano is the favorite to pick up the award on January 12th.

From the time of Sir Stanley Matthews, the first Ballon d'Or winner in 1956 to Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013, we have had just one goal keeper winner: Lev Ivanovich Yashin (1963). Also, not many defenders have won this prestigious award. Hence, Neuer's win in Geneva would come as a big surprise to many. The towering goalkeeper is 4/1 to win ahead of Messi and Ronaldo.

Lionel Messi has had a pretty mediocre year by the standards he set for himself. Although, the Argentine's not-so-good year is pretty much better than the all-time best performances of many. The Barcelona ace was at the center of everything for his national team in Brazil. He led Argentina to the final of the 2014 World Cup, but they lost after coming within touching distance of the football's ultimate prize. The diminutive Argentine won the Golden Ball at the end of the tournament, but the man in the blue and white jersey wasn't happy with the consolation prize. If Messi wins the Ballon d'Or this year, it will be his fifth trophy of this sort. He already holds the record for most wins. At the moment he is valued at 16/1 to win.

All the three nominees are equally talented and are the most important players for their respective teams. It is hard to imagine Real Madrid without Ronaldo and Barcelona without Messi. Also, Pep Guardiola won't be able to find a sweeper keeper alike Manuel Neuer. The Bayern Munich stalwart is truly unique and has played an important part for both club and country.

The final voting for the Ballon d'Or is generally very biased. Last year, neither Ronaldo or Messi picked one another among their three man choices. Hence, it will be interesting to see, who gets the majority votes from the captains and coaches.

One thing that we can say without the shadow of a doubt: 'D10S', 'CR7' and 'Manu' would all be part of the FIFPro World XI.


The winners will be announced on January 12th, at the FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala in Zurich.