After a 10 year dominance at the Ballon d’Or awards, Messi and Ronaldo both missed out on the most coveted player award in football. Luka Modric is the man to take the crown after a stunning year that saw him win the Champions League for a third consecutive time, and take Croatia to the World Cup final.
“Maybe in the past there are some players who could have won the Ballon d’Or like Xavi, Andres Iniesta or Sneijder but people finally now are looking at someone else. This award is for all the players who probably deserved to win it and didn’t. It was a really special year for me,” he said.
It is a great achievement for a player that was said to be one the biggest flops of the season when he first signed for Real Madrid. He said Zidane told him that he could win the Ballon d’Or when he took over at Madrid, and he’s gone and done it.
The biggest shock from the night was Messi finishing in 5th place. This year was Messi’s last chance to win a World Cup, and Argentina struggled in Russia, while Barcelona also crashed out of the Champions League to Roma in the Quarter Finals. Those two facts definitely played against Messi, but perhaps the real reason he came 5th was because he is a victim of his own success.
His year wasn’t quite as good as previous seasons, where had broken all the records, won every competition and scored a crazy number of goals. In 2012 he scored 91 goals for club and country, which is a record that’s not likely to be beaten for a very long time, if ever. That year he became the first player to win the Ballon d’Or four times, and this year he managed just over half those goals with 45.
In comparison Messi’s season was nowhere near his best, but he still scored the more goals than any other player in Europe, as well as bagging more assists and man of the match awards than any other player. If you go deeper you will see that Messi dominates most of the attacking stats in the game.
That said it is refreshing to see someone else win. The award has been very focused on attacking players and whoever scored the most goals so I’m happy that Modric has won after an amazing few seasons at Real Madrid.
At the same time we need to make sure we don’t take Messi and Ronaldo for granted, especially as they wind down towards the end of their careers. The last decade has been one of the most special times to be a football fan, having two players that play like they’re from another planet dominate the World Stage. Now that we are used to their brilliance, it looks like they will have to do something really special to be in with a chance of winning a sixth Ballon d’Or.