By Josh Powell | Sports writer
Lionel Messi is aiming to become the first player ever to win the Ballon d’Or for a fourth year on the spin and after an incredible 2011/12 season it would be a surprise if he didn’t.
Barcelona’s maestro has an incredible record in front of goal and has continued that this season, notching an incredible 91 goals in the calendar year, which is almost two goals every week! His untouchable form for Barcelona and Argentina has put the 25-year-old in with a great chance of retaining the converted prize.
Trying to stop him will be the man who is always the bridesmaid but never the bride, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger left defenders in a spin as he lifted the La Liga title with Real Madrid and as the Paddy Power Blog infographic shows he had the same goals-to-game ratio as Messi during the 2011/12 season. Unfortunately for the well-gelled one it looks to be more disappointment in the Ballon d’Or after his runners-up spots in 2009 and 2011.
The third contender for football’s greatest individual honour is the man with the world’s greatest footballing brain, Andreas Iniesta. He is the man who pulls all the strings for Barcelona and Spain and he was awarded the prize for best player at Euro 2012. You could count the amount of times he lost possession last season on one hand and his ability to create space and pick a pass is the stuff of footballing dreams.
One of these three Superheroes of football will be crowned the best player in the world on January 7 in Zurich.
The coach of the year will also be announced at the event with Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Vicente Del Bosque all battling it out for the prize. The Special One won it in 2010 and then Pep lifted the trophy in 2011 but this year it looks like it could be heading to Del Bosque. The Spaniard added a European Championship to his CV after the 2010 World Cup and you wouldn’t put it past him winning the 2014 trophy as well. then again when you have that squad of Spanish players to choose from it would be harder not to win games.
- Betting: FIFA Ballon D’Or winner 2012
- Graham Hunter column: The Premier League is not a patch on La Liga
Design: Andrew McQuillan