The 2015 FIFA Ballon d’Or approaches and the voters are faced with another tough decision as they prepare to determine the world’s best for the previous twelve months.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been joined in the race by Neymar who broke into contention thanks to his scintillating displays for Barcelona. However, he is unlikely to break the order, at least this year as he faces stiff competition from the two players who have dominated the award for the past seven years.
National team coaches and captains will be joined by journalists from around the world in a tough challenge and a usual dilemma.
Cristiano Ronaldo carried Real Madrid on his back against Real Sociedad, in the final match of 2015 for Los Blancos, and for the most part of the season which hasn’t met the expectations of the demanding fans.
The Portuguese forward scored twice in a 3-1 win to make it 57 goals in 57 games in the calendar year.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 14 La Liga goals this season to Messi’s six and his brace against Real Sociedad has extended the lead in the scoring battle between the two superstars, who are expected to be the two clear-cut favourites for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Real Madrid striker has had a silent year behind him as he failed to win a single trophy with his club.
Cristiano Ronaldo did lead his national team to the UEFA Euro 2016 in France, but his main and only advantage over Lionel Messi is the goal advantage in front of his Argentine rival.
The 30-year-old superstar has won back-to-back awards in 2013 and 2014, but is not regarded as the favourite to claim a consecutive hat-trick and his fourth Ballon d’Or in general, and even Ronaldo himself believes that Messi will win.
“To be honest I think Messi is going to win this year because this kind of trophy, it depends on votes” Ronaldo said back in November.
Lionel Messi’s lack of goals (58 in 2015) has been compensated with a quintet of silverware.
The Argentine marked his 500th appearance for Barcelona with a goal in the 4-0 triumph over Real Betis on Wednesday evening, while he was also involved in the controversial penalty incident which led to Heiko Westermann’s own goal.
Barcelona star player has been forced to sit out two months due to injury in 2015 but has still managed to score only three goals less than Cristiano Ronaldo.
In addition, his trophy collection seems to be playing in his favour and Lionel Messi is standing at 1/20 to win his fifth FIFA Ballon d’Or in January.
Memorable 2015 yielded five trophies for the Catalan club.
Before the game with Real Betis, Barca had shown off all of the five trophies – the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Rey, European Supercup and Club World Cup trophies were all at display for the fans.
Barcelona have managed 180 goals in 2015 piping the calendar year record of 178 goals set 12 months ago by Real Madrid and Lionel Messi played a huge hand in his team’s remarkable run despite the fact his year was eaten by injury.
During the time of Messi’s absence the 23-year-old Neymar grabbed the opportunity to prove he has become a reliable and constant performer, who isn’t afraid to take responsibility into his own hands.
The outstanding 2015 is behind Neymar, who has amassed 45 goals for his club and country. Versatile Brazilian has gone from strength to strength since the disappointment of World Cup 2014 and is set on making a huge impression in 2016.
His 16 goals in 18 matches so far this campaign are enough of a guarantee that future is bright for the Brazilian star.
This year, however is reserved for his teammate. Do you agree?
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