FIFA declared its winner of the 2013 Ballon D’Or on Monday. Cristiano Ronaldo deservedly won it, not least for his heroic efforts in taking Portugal to the World Cup finals in Brazil. Just pipped Lionel Messi, who was as outstanding as ever. We are lucky to have two such amazing players at the moment.
Here’s Cristiano trumping Lionel at the awards.
The World player and the team of the year are voted for by a combination of national captains and coaches and media. It’s hard to argue with the team of the year, although I think some of the Bayern Munich midfielders, like Bastian Schweinsteiger, can count themselves unlucky not to have forced their way in. The reputations of Xavi and Iniesta make them very hard to dislodge, even through Bayern trounced Barcelona in the Champions League.
The FIFA/FIFpro World XI 2013
Manuel Neuer, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Sergio Ramos, Philipp Lahm, Franck Ribery, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo
The British media, not surprisingly, have emphasised that not a single English Premier League player (of any nationality) made the XI. So much for the EPL’s claim to supremacy, they say. Well, up to a point… where the EPL excels is in entertainment and competitiveness. And there are some outstanding players.
So I thought I’d pick my Premier League XI to take on the World XI. The latter might win over two legs, but I reckon our boys would give them a good game. In a 4-1-3-2 formation so I can have two strikers.
Joe Hart – Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Per Mertesacker, Leighton Baines – Yaya Toure – Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, David Silva – Sergio Aguero, Luis Suarez.
Six from Man City, three from Arsenal, one each from Everton and Liverpool. And only one English player – the keeper. Oh dear, this must mean City are going to win the League. C’mon the Arsenal!
My bench would be: Cech, Coleman, Koscielny, Hazard, Gerrard, Rooney and Negredo.
Van Persie is only missing because he’s had little impact this season because of injury.
The player unluckiest not to make the XI is Eden Hazard, the Belgian midfielder, who has been on fire for Chelsea. My pro-Arsenal bias may be at play here, but they are top of the league and Ramsey has been a star this season, while Ozil is the transformer. And you can’t leave Silva out of the midfield – pure class.
Luis Suarez is unlucky not to be in the World XI. But then you have to remember that 2013 was the year of the Bite. 2014 maybe…
2014, though, will be largely determined by World Cup performances.