To start off, Cristiano Ronaldo had all the individual characteristics to win his second Ballon d'Or. Obviously some of the anticipation was taken out of the award when Ruud van Nistelrooy congratulated him on Twitter for winning the award. Not just only from an award standpoint, but from a fashion standpoint, it was a tremendous win for Team Ronaldo.
Ronaldo was a steamroller for Madrid since arriving. His numbers, as documented and repetitive they are, still remain mind-boggling. Yet there will be those that highlighted, or were against, his triumph.
OK, Real Madrid did not win a trophy in 2013, but where would his club be without him? Of course, we could say the exact same thing about Lionel Messi with Barcelona. With Franck Ribery, maybe not so much over at Bayern Munich. Yet Ronaldo was capable of putting his team on his back and willing Madrid to a semifinal spot in the Champions League and to the final of the Copa Del Rey, having left Barcelona along the wayside.
Was it polarized? Yes, as we've recently been able to see the two best players make the rest look so mortal. At the same time, football fans are so polarized now. Any compliment given to one seems to be taken as an insult to the other. On that end, football has become a bit myopic and no one looks at what the player is actually doing on the pitch.
In the end, football won. Regardless of who won the award, the winner was a proponent of the entertaining kind of football that we all enjoy. It's the type of style that makes kids want to be these players, the kind of football that wins and leaves no doubt.
Are there issues in the criteria of Ronaldo's selection? No doubt, but to say it was not deserved would be overly harsh.
Based on the past two awards, the Ballon d'Or is given to the top scorer in football. Messi won his fourth in a row after scoring 91 in 2012. That year was a low point for Barcelona, as they "only" won the Copa Del Rey and Madrid saw the league come their way for the first time in three years. This year, Ronaldo scored 69 times. That is more than Messi and Ribery scoring a total of 64—combined.
Also, don't win a treble. The last two treble winners have been shafted in a big way. Ribery will have Wesley Sneijder to commiserate with. The Dutchman helped Inter win the treble (beating Ribery's Bayern in the process) and got to the final of the World Cup, but was shafted from getting the award back in 2010 in favor of Messi. Ribery seemed to be on the outside of the argument of his Bayern side, but it's not like Ronaldo and Messi played with second-rate players either at their respective clubs.
When it came to the FIFPro XI, there was one position that I did not agree upon. Sergio Ramos is not better than Dante. The Brazilian should have been on that team. We've already talked about the Bayern Munich and Real Madrid trophy argument and that still doesn't seem to come into play anymore, and honestly, there is no need to repeat that anymore.
The same goes for seeing Dani Alves come into play in that ideal side, forcing Philipp Lahm to play on the left and taking out arguably the best No. 3 in the game right now in David Alaba. I might have looked at Bastian Schweinsteiger over Xavi this season. It was an injustice to see more Barca players than Bayern Munich players, especially after the mauling Die Roten gave the Blaugrana in the Champions League semis.
All in all, the game won as the best, for the most part, were rewarded. You might question the methods and changes in deadlines as far as ballots are concerned, but there is one thing that cannot be argued: Whomever was present in Zurich was worthy of winning that award.
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