The 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner will be announced today. There are three men in the running for the award. I think you would have to be from Mars if you didn’t know who those three men are. It is of course Lionel Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Ballon d’Or was started in 1956 and was presented by France Football magazine to the player voted European player of the year by European based journalists. The award originally just for European players was opened up to all players who were playing in Europe in 1995. And in 2007 the award was opened up to all players around the World and voted for by all football journalists around the globe. Then in 2010 the award merged with FIFA Player of the Year to create the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
The first recipient of the award was England’s Stanley Matthews, Matthews beat Alfredo Di Stefano by three votes and the Real Madrid great would go on to win the award twice in the next three years. Other British winners include Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and George Best. Kevin Keegan won the award two years running in the late 1970’s. The next and last British player to win the award was Michael Owen in 2001. While the last player to be awarded the Ballon d’Or whilst playing in England was Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008.
Two of this year’s final three are no strangers to winning the award, whether it be the original Ballon d’Or or the FIFA Ballon d’Or as it is now known. Lionel Messi was the last recipient of the Ballon d’Or in 2009 before it merged with FIFA Player of the Year award. He then went on to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the first three years of the award in 2010, 2011 and 2012. So the little Argentinian is looking to make it a fifth win overall and fourth win of the FIFA d’Or.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo is also no stranger to winning the award in both its guises. As we said earlier Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or in 2008 while playing for Manchester United. He was then runner-up to Messi the following year. Ronaldo then finished runner-up to Messi once again in 2011 and 2012 in the newly named FIFA Ballon d’Or. If Ronaldo is named the winner this year it will make a hat-trick of wins after lifting the award in 2013 and 2014.
Brazilian Neymar is in the final three for the first time. The Young Brazilian is starting to show the World the reason why Barcelona were so desperate to sign him from Santos. A win for Neymar would be a first win for a Brazilian player since 2007 when Kaka won the original Ballon d’Or.
Messi is the overwhelming favourite to win the award having missed out to Ronaldo in the previous two years. Messi led Barcelona to the treble of La Liga, Spanish Cup and Champions League in 2015. Scoring an incredible 28 goals in the second half of the 2014/15 season. He looks to be back to his best after returning from a recent injury lay-off. The Argentinian has 18 goals in 21 games for Barcelona so far this season.
Cristiano Ronaldo is looking to win the award for a third straight year but is the outsider of the three in the betting. Ronaldo scored 29 goals in the second half of last season but that didn’t guarantee Real Madrid any silverware. In October he became the all-time record goalscorer for Real but his performances have come under scrutiny lately. It is believed by many that his influence on games has diminished of late.
According to the bookies, Neymar is expected to finish second to his Barcelona team-mate Messi. Neymar like Messi was an integral part of Barcelona achieving the treble at the end of last season. He scored 24 goals in the second half of the season and is the joint top scorer in La Liga this season with 15 goals in 16 games. Neymar appeared to take on the mantle of Barcelona’s main man during Messi’s recent absence through injury. If he doesn’t win the award this year, I’m sure it won’t be long before he sees his name on the award.
This article is for the-newshub.com