Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta were named finalists for FIFA’s Ballon d’Or (world player of the year) award. Everyone knows it’s a two-man race between Ronaldo and Messi.
Former Brazilian star and three-time award winner Ronaldo agrees with that sentiment.
"Messi and Ronaldo are really the only ones with a chance of winning, that's how it's been recently,” Ronaldo said, according to an AP report (via ESPN).
They’re not only the two biggest names in the sport, but they are hands down the best at their craft. There’s no denying that.
Much like this year, last year’s vote came down to the two internationally known stars.
That’s not to take anything away from Iniesta. He’s a fine talent and won the MVP honors of the 2012 European Championship as recognition of that. But he’s outclassed by the likes of his Barca teammate.
Messi, 25, is Barcelona FC’s top playmaker. He has won the Ballon d’Or each year for the past three seasons and is the heavy favorite due to the excellent season he is having in world and European competition this year.
The Spanish striker scored 73 goals for Barca last season to earn the Golden Boot award. He finished ahead of Ronaldo.
Those 73 goals are a European club record, breaking the previous record of 68 by Gerd Mueller of Bayern Munich in 1972-73, according to The Telegraph. That’s not the only award of Mueller’s that Messi is closing in on.
His 82 total goals this calendar year are just three shy of the 85 Mueller scored that year. It’s been 40 years and no one has been able to topple it.
Messi is proving every year that he’s truly one of a kind.
When he is presented with the award in January, and he will be, he’ll become the first player to ever earn the honor for a fourth time.
The sky is truly the limit for the 25-year-old. Will there be any records left standing by the time he hangs up his cleats?