This piece will be about my three contenders for the Ballon D’Or. I think each of these players deserve to win for what they have done for their clubs and countries this year. There may be some surprises for those reading but I’m sure we can all agree on at least one of the players I have chosen.
Firstly, I have chosen Philipp Lahm who is the fullback for Bayern Munich and Germany. Many currently regard him as the best fullback in the world. He has been part of one of the best teams since the age of 11 and has progressed through the ranks playing for Bayern Munich’s youth team, their second team and now their first team as well as having a two-year loan spell at VfB Stuttgart. He has been a regular for Bayern since the 06/07 season and from then on he has been a hugely influential player within the team providing a large amount of assists and a goal every now and again. His performances for the German national team have been much the same since his debut at the age of 20 in 2004 against Croatia when he was voted man of the match. One of the main things that has impressed me is his ability to play perfect long balls for Ribery. While he plays a lot of long passes and crosses to his team mates, Ribery seems to be the main beneficiary receiving the ball and scoring goals on plenty of occasions thanks to Lahm and I believe this is the reason Ribery is played on the left and Robben on the right. His constant flow of pinpoint accurate crosses, long balls and short passes combined with his clever movement have made him into one of the best defenders to have played the game.
Secondly, I have chosen Bastian Schweinsteiger; the central midfield player for Bayern Munich and Germany. He is probably the most surprising of the three I have chosen but I feel that this year he has justified his inclusion by being one of the key players in helping Bayern win the Champions League trophy and Germany qualifying for next years World Cup and has been a regular for both since 2002 and 2004 respectively. He has been one of the key players for club and country for the last three or four years helping Bayern to three Champions League finals and Germany to the third place in the 2010 World Cup and the semi-final of the 2012 European Championships. He plays a pivotal role in midfield by playing in one of the hardest to master positions: box-to-box. He contributes in every aspect of the game from his tough tackles and clinical passes to his set-piece delivery and his powerful distance shot. He has a great goal record for Germany averaging a goal every four games and that may not sound like a lot but when you play in a German midfield, it is hard to take centre stage.
For these two players; you could argue that because they both play for the best team in Europe and one of the best international teams, it is the players around them working together rather than their individual talent. I would argue that anyone who regularly watches Bayern Munich and Germany would agree that each member of the starting 11 could be individually scrutinised and come out the other end looking like the top class player they are. But for me, I think that Lahm and Schweinsteiger are the two best out of the regular starting 11. They bring a certain element of calmness and precision to the team as well as their goals and assists.
My final selection for the Ballon D’Or top three is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I would imagine he is one of the players a lot of people have picked to maybe even win the award. He has been the stand out goal scorer this year not necessarily for the amount of goals but for the type of goals he has scored this year and over his career. Finishing last season with 36 goals for PSG and already has 8 this season which when combined with his 6 goals in 10 games for Sweden in their World Cup Qualifiers have made him one of the top strikers in the world in 2013. While he is loved for his football ability he is also a highly controversial player. Sometimes branded as “greedy” and considered as a player who ”thinks more about his own aspirations than those of the team” I would have to agree with these opinions up until he joined the current French champions. Since joining PSG, he has vastly matured as a player and a professional although he is almost as well known for his comments in press conferences as he is for scoring goals.
This is his response when he was asked how he shook off Stephane Henchoz:
“First I went left, he did too. Then I went right, and he did too. Then I went left again, and he went to buy a hot dog.”
His comeback after he was criticised by John Carew:
“What Carew does with a football, I can do with an orange.”
And lastly, after being asked by a female reporter about a photo of him and Gerard Pique hugging:
“Come over to my house with your sister, baby, and I’ll show you who’s gay!”
Fantastic stuff from one of the greatest personalities to have played the game and when he has the ability to back up the controversy, surely he is to be chosen to win the Ballon D’Or over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo although I cant say it wont be close but surely the public are becoming sick of the hype over them. I, like everyone else, love watching them play but there is too much focus on them and not enough on other players, other leagues even.
This has hopefully enlightened some people who may not watch a lot of overseas football and I hope even more that it has sparked some fierce debates at the pub and in schools because that is one of the best things about football, everyone has their own opinion on everything.
Written by; Jordan Lowes
All Zlatan Ibrahimovic quotes taken from http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/zlatan-ibrahimovic-quotes-best-outspoken-2331210