The quest for the top prize of football’s FIFA’s golden ball was unveiled on Monday and the usual suspects emerged with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar making the coveted nomination.
All eyes are now set on the Monday, January 11, 2016 date to crown the new winner of global soccer’s individual Holy Grail honour at the Kongresshaus in Zurich, after the nominees were confirmed after a voting process, which was open to the captains and head coaches of men’s and women’s national teams of the 207 member associations as well as international media representatives selected by FIFA and France Football.
In this article, Adam Lambert highlights the factors that will aid the contention for soccer’s biggest individual honour.
Ronaldo: Trophyless seasons blurs Portuguese maestro’s bid
Cristiano Ronaldo will have the chance to cart a third straight Ballon d’Or award in the month of January, after being named in the final three-man shortlist, by FIFA, alongside Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar. Ronaldo’s bid for award this term is hampered by the inability of Los Blancos to win any title last season, while his fellow contender Messi shone in flying colours with a treble to show for his efforts. It will take a miracle for Ronaldo to emerge tops, after he failed to inspire Spanish giants Real to Uefa Champions League, La Liga or Copa del Rey honours.
Messi: Laurels in flying colours favour Argentine ace
Argentine national team skipper Lionel Messi is on cloud nine, after a brilliant season with Barcelona where he assisted the La Blaugrana to a treble and he contributed immensely to ‘Albiceleste’s’ march to the final of the 2015 Copa America tournament where the narrowly lost to hosts Chile in the final. The petit attacking force stamped his authority in all the games he played last term and even the injury that sidelined him didn’t take the shine away from his brilliant form. My take is that Messi will earn his fifth crown, after the hiatus he experienced from carting four titles in a row.
Neymar: Brazilian wizkid joins the table of men
Brazilian prodigy Neymar took centre stage in Messi’s absence this season and has been included in the three-man shortlist for the very first time. The former Santos forward is a time bomb ready to explode with mind-blowing performances that took earned trophies for Barcelona. Cast your mind back to the Champions League final against Juventus in Berlin, where he cut through a maze of defenders and slot the ball past Gianluigi Buffon. The game of football does not experience that kind of artistry every other day.Regardless of his breathtaking moves so far, 23-year old Neymar may have to wait a little while to be crowned the world’s best albeit if he sustains or better still increase the current tempo.