It is no longer news that the portuguese forward Christian Ronaldo has been named world footballer of the year 2013,but this decision since reached has not gone down well with some sports pundits around the world who thinks contrary.Here is an article gatherd from one of the people that disagrees with the choice of Ronaldo as the world best:
For those who judge the game on individual brilliance contributing to team success in the glorious pursuit of trophies, Bayern Munich’s treble-winning Franck Ribéry enjoyed an epic 2013, the key player in the best team, and earning this judge’s vote for the Ballon d’Or won by a tearful Cristiano Ronaldo.
The way Ribery changed directions, tricking the very best defenders, almost carried echoes of Johan Cruyff in his Ajax pomp.
Convincing cases could be made for the three players on the short-list, for Lionel Messi as well as Ronaldo and Ribéry. Ronaldo’s scoring and dedication has been phenomenal, although Real Madrid did not win anything in 2013. Messi helped inspire Barcelona to La Liga and continues to grace the game.
Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo delivers a speech after receiving the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or award for player of the year. Photo: AFP
Moving briefly away from the subjective nature of placing one player ahead of another, one reality that cannot be disputed is that football lovers are privileged to be watching the game in an era lit up by such talents. It is important to acknowledge that this is the decade-long era of Ronaldo and Messi, two individuals who deserve to be recognised among the greatest to play the game. It is also important to appreciate the facts, the stats and the destiny of trophies and honour what Ribéry achieved in 2013.
The scarfaced Frenchman may not enjoy the same PR of Ronaldo or Messi. He does not feature in many style magazines or front ad campaigns. As Bayern suspect, he may not have had the same lobbying behind him as others. Yet he was the most dazzling star in the glittering galaxy of stars that was Bayern in 2013, easily Europe’s most exceptional team of the year. What made Ribéry even more special was that he stood out even when surrounded by such in-form winners as Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Müller and Arjen Robben, who all made the 23-strong long-list for the Ballon d’Or.
Franck Ribery missed out on being names the world’s best soccer player at the FIFA Ballon d’Or gala. Photo: AP
Judges are instructed to vote on this selection criteria: “Performances for club and/or national team (particularly in important matches), fair play and general level of performance in 2013.” The key phrase has to be “in important matches”, meaning title-deciders, Champions League tests and major internationals. Ribéry delivered time and again: the treble of Bundesliga, Champions League and German Cup as well as those gilded baubles of Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup. Along the way, he collected individual honours as Bundesliga player of the year (not bad in a league that produced the two best sides in Europe, Bayern and Borussia Dortmund) and voted Most Valuable Player in Fifa’s world shindig in Morocco. Most significantly, Ribéry was voted by Uefa as their Best Player in Europe, receiving the award in Monaco in August ahead of Ronaldo and Messi.
In winning the treble last year, Ribéry’s footwork and hard work was constantly on display. He showed balance, technique, confidence in either foot, losing markers with a dropped shoulder and a flick of acceleration to dribble into the box, creating chances for team-mates or finishing himself.
The way Ribéry changed directions, tricking the very best defenders, almost carried echoes of Johan Cruyff in his Ajax pomp. Ronaldo, technically a superior player to Ribéry, had a sensational year but without the medals Ribéry picked up.
For lovers of stats, the main criterion where Ronaldo and Messi eclipse Ribéry is in goals scored (66-42-22), although his supporters in Germany argue about the respective qualities of the bottom of La Liga compared to the Bundesliga. But Ribéry won more games (45) than Ronaldo (40) or Messi (26). According to statistics compiled by the BBC, Ribéry made more dribbles (1,084) than Ronaldo (252) and Messi (331), created more chances (149 to Ronaldo’s 94 and Messi’s 70), made more passes (2,903 to Messi’s 2,136 and Ronaldo’s 1901) and made more assists (18 to the others’ 15). He definitely tracked back more.
It was Ribéry’s understanding of the need to press quickly, regaining the ball, and covering back occasionally to cover for adventurous full-backs that made him even more revered by his team-mates. His all-round influence in the Champions League brought that individual plaudit from Uefa. Ribéry was actually not great at the Emirates in the round of 16, but an ankle injury meant he missed the second leg when Bayern lost 2-0 (but still progressed on aggregate). Bayern looked poorer without the counter-attacking threat of their No 7.
In the quarter-final win at Juventus, Ribéry’s ability was seen in one particularly audacious pass to Mario Mandzukic. In the semi-final against Barcelona, Ribéry was good in the first leg at the Allianz Arena and even better at Camp Nou; unstoppable down the flanks, two of his crosses brought a Gerard Piqué own goal and Müller headed goal. In the final, Ribéry played a part in both Bayern goals at Wembley.
There is dismay in parts of France and Germany over this particular vote in a competition which was run solely by France Football magazine until merging with Fifa’s World Player of the Year. The vote was expanded to include the captain and coach of each national team as well as one reporter from each Fifa member country.
It all seemed straightforward this year. On Nov 1, I received an email from France Football with the 23 players chosen by the Fifa Football Committee and the editors of France Football. After consideration of the merits of Neuer and Lahm, Robben and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the leading three were obvious: Ribéry, Messi and Ronaldo. After deciding to award the first-place five points to Ribéry, I gave three to Messi on the basis of his superb contribution to Barcelona’s La Liga triumph and one point to Ronaldo in third. On Nov 14, a day before the deadline, cutting it slightly late as usual, I cast the vote by email.
On Nov 19, all voters received an email from France Football, saying that not all had voted – amazingly – and the deadline was therefore being extended to Nov 29. The conspiracy theorists went into overdrive as it followed a rapprochement between Ronaldo and the Fifa president Sepp Blatter, as it allowed both legs of the European World Cup play-offs to be included. Ronaldo’s fabulous displays for Portugal against Sweden were inevitably fresh in the minds of those late-voting judges. (Ribéry was also playing well, guiding France past Ukraine).
For those who abided by the original deadline, the vote was cast, and could not be recast. I would not have changed anyway. For France and particularly Bayern, Franck Ribéry was utterly magnificent in 2013. Three big medals confirm that.