On Monday finally the top three contenders for the 2015 Ballon d’ or were announced. The names were, Lionel Messi (of course no surprises there), Neymar, the rising star of Brazil and Barcelona worthy of a nomination and lastly Cristiano Ronaldo, and it is this particular Portuguese has been creating ripples all around supposedly because his nomination isn’t fair and not essentially justified (yeah sure!)
The buzz that has been an inherent part of conversations between football fans from America to Japan has been whether the Real Madrid superstar deserves the nomination for the most prestigious award in the world or not. And I am here to tell you that there are no two ways about it. Of course there’ll be many who would scoff off at this remark of mine, but I am here to tell you, my friend, that you are about to be a bit dazzled by the prowess of a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.
If you know football, you know that there is no other footballer who can boast about as rigorous a work rate as Cristiano Ronaldo. In the 2014-15 season, Ronaldo scored a whooping 61 goals across all competitions becoming the highest goalscorer in the league with 48 goals. Furthermore, Ronaldo found the back of the net on 10 occasions in the Champions League standing equal with both Messi and Neymar having played a lesser number of games as compared to the Barcelona duo. Surely the ‘Penaldo’ chants are echoing in your mind and you might be smirking and thinking that even you can score that many goals through easy tap ins. Well, 48 goals aren’t just a stroke of luck or chance!
I know all wingers score, that is their job and what makes a winning candidate stand out from the other two is his ability in creating chances for his team and here too regrettably Ronaldo excels. The last season saw Ronaldo ending the campaign being the 2nd highest assist provider in the league, missing Messi by just a couple. Both Neymar and Suarez weren’t even close to the ‘commander’ and yet his nomination is not justified.
The Real Madrid that won the much awaited ‘La Decima’ was a champion team. A great forward attack, a strong defense and an Italian bull leading from the front. Ronaldo flourished in the set up reaching new heights and achieving one milestone after another. The current season has been a contrast to that glory and Ronaldo has been a mere shadow of his former self. That does not mean that you can write off the goal machine. A very simple fact behind the success of MSN is the team framework and how the three balance each other. The Catalans are enjoying a phenomenal run with the forwards getting support in the face of the magical Iniesta and clinical Rakitic. A very mediocre team set up and injuries to key players are also a very pivotal reasons behind the Portuguese’s shortcomings. But yet the winger has scored 16 goals in 20 outings which is equal to Neymar’s tally this season. And haven’t you heard that form is temporary, but class is permanent?
Ronaldo’s career graph has been a rising curve. From Lisbon to Manchester United to Real Madrid. His story is a thing of dreams. It is the story of struggle, of passion, dedication, hard work and perseverance. The consistency in his performances speaks about the calibre of that 30-year-old. The argument here is not whether he is better than Messi or that he should win the Ballon d’ or because he would be the first critic of his own performance. But the aim here is to understand the contribution of a footballer to this game. He might win the award he might not, we will all know in January but questioning his nomination is like undermining his talent. He didn’t just become the greatest goal scorer of one of the biggest club in the world just on the backs of super gelled hair or a well-toned body. It takes a lot and as a football fan I surely expect you to appreciate that and if you cannot it makes me question as to do you really love football?