The FIFA Ballon d’Or, football’s most prestigious individual award will not be given until January 2014 but the speculations about who should win it have already started. Lionel Messi, the Argentinian forward of FC Barcelona has won every Ballon d’Or since 2009. This year, Bayern Munich‘s winger Franck Ribery could very well beat the Barcelona player to the trophy.
Franck Ribery has enjoyed an exceptional 2013 year with his club, Bayern Munich. The Bavarian club won the German League, the Champion’s League and the German Cup, completing an unprecedented treble in the history of the club. The French winger was Bayern’s best player last season, contributing to their fantastic season with 16 goals and 23 assists and scoring some important goals. However, Ribery’s contribution goes beyond his goals and assists. The Frenchman is a complete player who tracks back and defends when needed. His exceptional defensive performance against Barcelona in the Champion’s League semifinals helped Bayern get the ”clean sheet” in both legs.
Individual performances are what help a player win the Ballon d’ Or, and if we look at the number of goals scored and assists provided, it is difficult not to award the Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo. However, football is a team sport and Franck Ribery has helped his team win three trophies. His team was more successful than Messi’s and Ronaldo’s. The Argentinian won ”only” La Liga with Barca and the Portuguese winger lacked a trophy with Real Madrid. Bayern Munich’s exceptional season is what made the difference when Ribery was awarded the UEFA’s best player of the season a month ago in Monaco. When Fabio Cannavaro won the award in 2006, it was because Italy had won the World Cup a few months before, and surely not because the centre back was the best player in the world.
The fact that Ribery managed to shine in a team that wasn’t built around him says a lot about his performances. Unlike Barcelona and Real Madrid, where the team is built around Messi and Ronaldo, Bayern Munich isn’t built around Ribery which means the French winger has got to play to his team’s strengths before playing to his; he did that very well. He was the best player on a team where everyone else had an outstanding season.
Franck Ribery is without a shadow of a doubt in the best period of his career. He has been performing very well for both club and country. Awarding the Ballon d’Or to Ribery would crown not only him but Bayern Munich’s entire team for their exceptional 2013 year. Considering that Messi is only 26 years old and Ronaldo 28 , this is the last chance for the 30-year-old Frenchman to win football’s most prestigious individual award.