Barcelona star Lionel Messi returns to the summit of world football after winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or, edging out Cristiano Ronaldo, and his teammate Neymar Jr. in the final cut.
Who is the greatest footballer of past decade?
If we are using FIFA Ballon d’Or awards as bean counters, Lionel Messi, is that man.
A mixed bag of journalists and team captains voted the 28-year old Barcelona star as the greatest player in the world for a record fifth time, after a star-studded ceremony in Zurich. Messi was up against his fiercest rival Cristiano Ronaldo and teammate Neymar Jr. in the final cut. Messi picked up 41.33% of votes, 27.76% went to Ronaldo, and 7.86% to Neymar Jr.
Messi’s previous four victories came in a hot streak between 2009-2012. Ronaldo has won the previous two awards in 2013 & 2014. The Argentinean’s latest success means he outscores Ronaldo five wins to three, and with the Real Madrid forward slipping into his thirties, I doubt the great man will be able to overtake the little genius from Rosario. The two Titans have won the past eight awards between them, and they are the only pair to win the award since it extended its reach beyond European football in 2010.
Lionel Messi’s Barcelona won the treble in 2014/2015. He scored 52 goals in 61 games and made 26 assists: a goal every 101 minutes, and an assist every 202 minutes. His coach Luis Enrique picked up the Coach of The Year award.
USA midfielder Carli Lloyd, 33, won the female award. Lloyd scored a hat-trick as the Americans beat Japan 5-2 in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, including a hair-raising gem from the halfway line. USA national team coach Jill Ellis won the female version of the Coach of The Year award.
Ballon d’Or evening is also the time to announce the names of the FIFA/Fifpro World XI. Not a single player made it from the Premier League, despite many still believing it is the best league in the world. It was the only league in the top five European leagues without any representation.
FIFA/Fifpro World XI 2015
- Neuer (Bayern Munich)
- Silva (PSG)
- Ramos (Real Madrid
- Alves (Barcelona)
- Marcelo (Real Madrid)
- Pogba (Juventus)
- Iniesta (Barcelona)
- Modric (Real Madrid)
- Messi (Barcelona)
- Neymar (Barcelona)
- Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
Finally, Atletico Goianiense’s Wendell Lira won the Goal of the Year award for this effort.
Lloyd’s is better.
With Messi and Ronaldo winning the last eight awards between them they have proven their right to be named amongst the world’s greatest players ever.
But who is the all-time greatest?
Have your say.