The 2012 Ballon d’Or winner will be announced on Monday, and if Barcelona’s Lionel Messi name is not given the honor, it will be a massively unjust decision.
While Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi’s teammate Andres Iniesta are both deserving finalists, neither has been nearly as productive as the 25-year-old Argentinian.
Iniesta has furthered his reputation as one of the most technically brilliant players on the planet. His touch and vision constantly produce stunning moments, but with four goals and 15 assists this season in addition to nine goals and 11 assists last season, his statistics pale in comparison to the other two finalists.
Many expect the award to come down to Messi and Ronaldo. But even then, it is not a difficult decision.
Ronaldo can boast success with both his club and national teams. Real Madrid won the La Liga for the first time since the 27-year-old arrived in the Spanish capital, and the Portuguese star led his country to the semifinals of Euro 2012, where it lost in a penalty shootout to eventual champion Spain.
While Iniesta’s teams (Barcelona and Spain) arguably had greater success, Ronaldo’s production far exceeds the midfield maestro’s numbers. Ronaldo had 67 goals and 16 assists for both club and country last season, and has added 28 more goals and six more assists this season.
This is an impressive résumé, but Messi has been so historically dominant this season, that it should matter little that the Copa del Rey trophy is the only one he has earned during 2012.
On both the club and international stage, Messi had 77 goals and 27 assists last season, and has already managed to record an incredible 49 goals and nine assists this season.
There has not been a defense that he has faced that has been able to consistently limit his production, and he is quite simply the best player in the world. He has held this distinction for several years, and his play this season has resoundingly affirmed his status.
While Ronaldo and Iniesta both have had more success with their respective teams, Messi’s dominance has been so thorough over the past year that there is no other legitimate choice for the award. It would be a travesty for anyone but Messi to receive the 2012 Ballon d’Or.