Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Luis Suarez - Who actually deserves the Ballon d'Or this year?
Will we have a new Ballon d'Or winner this time? Or will Messi and Ronaldo continue their stranglehold over the prestigious prize?
Football is a team sport, but there is so much debate every year as to who the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner should be. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi fans, in particular, seem to value the Ballon D’Or prize more than any actual trophies they might have won with their respective clubs or countries.
However, there is no denying the fact that the Ballon d’Or award is the game’s most prestigious individual prize and it is no doubt an extremely important event in a competitive footballer’s life.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the award winning the last 8 editions, with the Argentine winning 5 of them. This year, the Ballon d’Or promises to be an intriguing tussle. The usual suspects Messi and Ronaldo are as always the favourites. However, a case can also definitely be made for the two standout forwards of this year - Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann.
Let us analyse each contender and find out who actually deserves the Ballon d'Or this year:
The Barcelona number 9 has arguably taken his game to new heights ever since he completed a big-money transfer from Liverpool to Catalonia. Scoring and setting up goals for fun, Suarez even outscored Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann in the La Liga scoring 40 goals in 35 games, winning the Pichichi award.
Supremely talented and tenacious, Luis Suarez always gives more than a 100% on the pitch. Known for his direct running and skillful dribbles, Luis Suarez tormented defenders all over Europe nutmegging them at will and scoring some spectacular goals as well.
If we consider the La Liga alone, Suarez leads the goalscoring as well as assists chart having made an incredible 16 assists along with scoring 40 goals. Many times in the season, Suarez was easily the best player on the pitch outshining his more illustrious team-mate Lionel Messi.
In fact, Suarez played so well that he was made the side’s number 9 ahead of Leo Messi who had played there for the last few seasons. He himself seemed surprised by that fact:
"I never imagined playing in this position because Leo (Messi) was playing as the No.9, and I thought, 'where are they going to play me?',"
Suarez’s contributions are not only restricted to the attacking side of the pitch. Always a team player, the Uruguayan can often be seen flying into tackles and working hard for the team when Barcelona relinquish possession.
A complete team player who never fails to give credit to Messi and Neymar, Suarez might actually have outshone both Messi and Neymar for Barcelona this season. But, he might end up missing on the Ballon d’Or because of his injury at Copa America which prevented him from making an impact for his country.
Also, Suarez is always viewed with a slightly different perspective and although he has been on his best behaviour this season, he might end up not getting enough votes because of his past misdemeanours.
With 3 months of football yet to be played, Suarez can stake his claim for the top individual prize by continuing to do what he does best - score goals and cause havoc to the opposition defences.