How we define ‘the greatest player in the World’ is tricky, with it generally coming down to personal opinion. It is rare for there to be an obvious player who stands out above the rest, as different leagues offer up different styles of play, however in the past year, the winner of the World and European Player of the Year seems fairly obvious.
“There is a clear favourite,” said Fernando Torres this week. “I think there have been very few years when there has been someone who has done so much to deserve the award as Cristiano Ronaldo did last season.”
Thierry Henry begs to differ though…
“Messi is the best,” said Henry. “What he does is from another world. He is exceptional. After watching Arsenal against Manchester United, I insist Cristiano Ronaldo is one thing and Messi is another. There is no comparison. Messi deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this year.”
To argue that a player who scored 42 goals in 47 games doesn’t deserve to be awarded with the Ballon d’Or is moronic. Whoever you prefer, Messi or Ronaldo or Kaka or Torres, or anyone else, it would be ridiculous to suggest that any player had a better year than Ronaldo, which has to be the ultimate definition for the winner. If we are to judge the winner on only who has the most ability, which some would argue Messi outshines Ronaldo with, then players who sit out half the season or more through injury could win the award. I’d prefer Wayne Rooney in my team to Ronaldo, but that doesn’t mean I could argue he is more deserving of the Ballon d’Or, as clearly Ronaldo had the better year.
Ronaldo and Messi played in similar positions, yet despite playing in just 7 fewer games, Messi scored 28 fewer goals! He is without doubt a class player and on his day maybe he is better than anyone else, but it is what a player does over the course of a year that matters, and the player who shows their ability on more occasions than any other is the player who deserves this award. There can only be one winner and it is without question the only worthy player of the award for 2008 is Ronaldo.