The Ballon d’Or is the most coveted individual soccer award in the world and the most difficult to obtain. One of the main reasons being that it has no real criteria, some people even say it is just a popularity contest. This award used to be separated into two awards, but a few years back, Fédération Internationale de Football (FIFA) decided to merge the awards and only have the Ballon d’Or as the most important award. The past three years this award had been given to the argentine Lionel Messi, few can argue he did not deserve it. However, some people believe that in 2010 it should have been the Spaniard Andrés Iniesta that should have won. Iniesta was on Messi’s club team (FC Barcelona) that year and was fundamental to their success, perhaps Messi a bit more crucial to their wins but Iniesta was a close second. However what separated them that year was that Iniesta won the World Cup with Spain and not only was he a crucial for the Spaniard national team throughout the tournament, he also scored the winning goal in the final against a very strong Netherlands team. Messi however, won the controversial award that year. The question you might be asking yourself is who decides who wins, well that is simple. The coach and captain of every international team get three votes. Whoever they put as number one on their list, gets four points, number two gets two points and number three gets one point. There are also a selected few journalists from around the world that get to vote, but who decides on that and what exactly are the criteria are unknown to the general public.
However, the most controversial part of the award in recent years has been no other than Cristiano Ronaldo. He won the award in 2008 when he played for Manchester United no one came close to him that year. It was a unanimous decision. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are considered by most to be the best two players in the world by far. These two players have almost identical stats and are clearly the stars of their respective teams, Messi for FC Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid (both clubs playing in La Liga Spain’s football league). Yet up until a month ago Messi had won four Ballon d’Or, to Ronaldo’s one. This is where controversy sets in and people call it a popularity contest. The FIFA president Sepp Blatter said in a conference in a college in the United States that Messi was a good boy, the son every mother wanted, Messi is portrayed as the humble and innocent boy who just wants to play soccer. On the other hand Blatter said that Ronaldo is a commander on the field, that he is like a robot and waste too much money on hair products. Ronaldo is seen as selfish and egotistical.
This award comes with a lot of controversy and no matter who wins there will be complaints. This year, it was between Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribéry. It was Ribéry’s first year nominated into the top three and people’s opinion was the he deserved the title since he won every tournament possible that year with his German club team, Bayern Munich. However, his stats did not compare to Ronaldo and Messi’s. At the end of the day it is an individual award. The Ballon d’Or this year was awarded to Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid.