Manchester United have four players listed in the top 30 players in Europe, ahead of the Ballon d’Or announcement at the beginning of December. Four of the eleven players from the Premiership belong to Manchester United, which is unsurprising, considering our success in England and Europe last season.
If a Manchester United player does win the award, most obviously Ronaldo, it will be the first time since George Best in 1968. In the past 15 years, United have seen Beckham and Ronaldo finish second and Eric Cantona third.
The last time a player from the English league scooped the award was Michael YSB Owen back in 2001, before his sad, slow decline in to nothingness. Kevin Keegan has won the award in the past, but when he was playing in Germany. This means before Owen in 2001, the last player from our league to win the award was Best in 1968, before him, Sir Bobby Charlton in 1966, and before him, Denis Law in 1964. Stanley Matthews, in 1956, is the only other player in over 50 years of the competition to win the award from the English league. If Ronaldo is to win the Ballon d’Or, is is quite an achievement, when considering the bias against players from our league.
What argument is there for the inclusion of the others? Well in United’s second most successful season of all time, the only times we lost was when Rooney wasn’t on the field. He was also the highest scoring Englishman last season, with the third highest number of assists in the league. Nemanja Vidic and Edwin Van der Sar were both part of the best defence in Europe, with Van der Sar’s European Cup winning penalty save not doing him any harm on that front. One has to wonder why Rio Ferdinand was overlooked though.
Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), Togo.
Sergio Agüero (Atletico Madrid), Argentine.
Andreï Archavine (Zénith Saint-Pétersbourg), Russia.
Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Germany.
Karim Benzema (Lyon), France.
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus Turin), Italy.
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Portugal.
Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Ivory Coast.
Samuel Eto’o (FC Barcelone), Cameroon.
Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Spain.
Fernando Torres (Liverpool FC), Spain.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC), England.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan), Sweden.
Kaka (Milan AC), Brazil.
Frank Lampard (Chelsea), England.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelone), Argentina.
Pepe (Real Madrid), Portugal.
Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich), France.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), England.
Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Spain.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Spain.
Luca Toni (Bayern Munich), Italy.
Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Netherlands.
Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg SV puis Real Madrid), Netherlands.
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), Netherlands.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Serbia.
David Villa (Valence CF), Spain.
Xavi (FC Barcelone), Spain.
Youri Zhirkov (CSKA Moscou), Russia.