As I’m watching English FA Cup games on my Saturday afternoon, and witnessing Manchester United getting knocked out of Cup games (juicy development!), I cant help but think about FIFA Ballon d’Or Award ceremony on this coming Monday.
“FIFA Ballon d’Or” Award, which was previously only awarded by UEFA for “Best Player in Europe”, is now merged with “FIFA World Player of the Year” Award to award the best player of the world football of the past season.
“FIFA Ballon d’Or” as we know it, awards the selected nominee based on majority votes by coaches, captains of national teams as well as journalists around the world. So it is a very reputable Award in a sense that the votes come from football experts around the world-albeit with usual bias- but with emphasize on performance of the nominated player or the coach in the past season(2011-2012 in this case).
So the categories in which Awards are expected are in simple terms: Best Player of 2012, Best Coach of 2012, Best starting line up of the season, Best goal of the season, Best contributor to world football and Fair play team of the season.
Also new in Award categories this year is the welcomed inclusion of Best women player of 2012 and Best women coach of the season.
As expected in Ballon d’Or category, Barcelona’s and world-known Argentine play-maker, Lionel Messi, is the shortlisted nominee, along with his Spanish team-mate, Andres Iniesta, and also Real Madrid’s Christian Ronaldo.
Winning this Award will be Messi’s 4th consecutive Ballon D’Or win since 2009, while it’ll be Ronaldo’s 2nd win since 2008 and Iniesta’s first ever Ballon d’Or Award win.
Statistics aside, the performance of Messi for Barcelona’s dream team was beyond exceptional in year 2012. His beautiful rocket shots have amazed pundits and football fans around the world. Although in 2011-2012 season, Barcelona came short of winning La Liga, but Messi had a noticeable effect for the team in scoring in Copa del Rey and winning another honor for the team.
Not to mention, his superb goalscoring hunger broke records both in 2011-2012 season and in calendar year in 2012. In calendar year 2012, he managed to score record 91 goals until end of December 2012, surpassing Gerd Muller’s previous World record in one year. Messi also broke records at FC Barcelona with highest goal scoring record of any player in Barcelona’s history in 2011-2012 season, as well as astonishing top La Liga player in terms of highest goals and assists combined in a season. All these compare to Ronaldo’s great season with Real Madrid in 2011-2012, lifting La Liga trophy with the team, as well as top scoring honor-albeit joint with 5 other players- at Euro 2012.
Iniesta, on the other hand, remain the backbone of Barcelona’s play-making trio, as well showed an admiring performance for Spain in Euro 2012 to help them lift the trophy.
All in all, I think FIFA Ballon d’Or 2012 will be marked by Messi, for his record-breaking spree in 2012.
In coaching category, the tight contest is between Spain coach, Del Bosque, Real Madrid’s Jose Mourinho and Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola. Considering Del Bosque’s historic trophy with Spain as Euro 2012 Champion, and Mourinho’s successful quest to La Liga championship glory-their first since 2008-, the best coach of 2012 should be most fierce between these two successful managers.
In Women football category, Brazilian striker, Marta, is nominated along with USA striker, Alex Morgan, and her teammate Abby Wambach. Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach were both very influential in USA’s triumph at 2012 London Olympics women football games.
Also in women coach of the year Award, France national women coach, Bruno Bini, is contesting the honor with Japan’s women coach, Nario Sasaki, who led the team to Olympic Finals, and Swedish-based USA team manager, Pia Sundhag who led the American women to 2012 London Olympic football trophy.
On Monday, we shall all watch Ballon d’Or’s exquisite Gala ceremony for the World’s best footballers(men and women). I will surely keep you posted about the winners and losers of the Award.