Ballon D’Or Front Runners

FIFA recently announced its 23-man shortlist to contest who will win the most prestigious individual award in the game, the Ballon D’or. Awarded to the year’s best player and voted for by international managers and captains, I take a look at the ten most likely winners.

1 – Gareth Bale

After single-handedly winning games for Spurs, the Welshman sealed a dream move to Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee. Scoring on his debut for Madrid, questions as to whether Bale could adapt seem to be waning, a recent hat-trick against Valladolid extra proof he is excelling.

2 – Radamel Falcao

Another player who moved for mega money in the summer to Monaco, Falcao has hit the ground running at his new club. Nine goals in 14 league games is testament to this and the Colombian goes into next year’s World Cup as his nation’s main man.

3 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic

As much self-confidence as he is talented, and this guy’s talented. Firing big spending Paris Saint Germain to their first league title in nearly two decades, the big Swede has carried on his form this season with 23 goals in 25 appearances for PSG and Sweden, including four against Anderlecht in the Champions League.

4 – Philipp Lahm

It’s rare a defender gets recognised but Lahm is one that deserves every plaudit he gets. Captain of Germany, he has two great feet and plays for probably the best team in the world right now: Bayern Munich. Captaining the Bavarians to a famous treble last season, Lahm and co. are looking to be the first back-to-back Champions League winners.

5 – Lionel Messi

It wouldn’t be a list of the World’s best players without the four-time winner. Messi started this season on fire once again, averaging a goal a game in all competitions until injury left him side-lined. This may prevent him from a fifth Ballon D’or but nevertheless, on the pitch he’s been his usual remarkable self.

6- Franck Ribery

Another member of the all-conquering Bayern Munich side, the diminutive Frenchman was instrumental in helping Munich to glory. Quick, tricky and can shoot with either foot making him one of the finest wingers on the planet with a respectable eleven goals in 21 games for club and country this season.

7 – Arjen Robben

The other side of Bayern’s midfield sees the Dutchman and his renowned left food, often cuts inside to get a shot off and often converts it. The year’s highlight coming when he scored the winner in last season’s Champions League final, banishing the demons of the seasons before penalty miss against Chelsea in the process.

8 – Cristiano Ronaldo

He may never win it again if not this year. Somehow Ronaldo has stepped his game up another notch in the last year, this season alone he has bagged a scarcely believable 32 goals in 22 appearances. With five hat-tricks already too, the award should really be his, an abundance of highlights, the most prominent may be dragging his country into the World Cup finals through the play-offs.

9 – Luis Suarez

Whether it is good or bad, Suarez always provides a talking point and when they’re good, they’re very good. One of the most determined players in the game combined with an outrageous natural ability, the Uruguayan does things others could only dream of. Top scorer in the Premier League this season with 13 goals in only nine games, he is pivotal in Liverpool’s top four push.

10 – Robin Van Persie

Bought by Sir Alex Ferguson for one reason: to win the Premier League title back from Manchester City. Van Persie duly delivered firing Manchester United to a 20th league title and in the process replacing Wayne Rooney as the main striker at Old Trafford. Injury has hampered him this season, reflected by United’s stuttering start.

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