The last three have been chosen for this year’s FIFA Balon D’Or. The best player in the world for 2014 will be either Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Manuel Neuer. Most fans and pundits expect Cristiano Ronaldo to walk away with the trophy. He had an incredible season on the goalscoring front, and he helped his Real Madrid side win their tenth Champions League trophy.
However, there has been an argument developing for Manuel Neuer to receive the trophy. There is no doubt that the German has become the world’s outstanding goalkeeper. His ability to come high up the pitch and clear the ball makes him a huge asset to his national team and to Bayern Munich.
Sweeper keepers have existed in the past, but Neuer is probably the most consistent in that role over the past 20 to 30 years. It has been a joy to watch him play if you ask Tom Rothman. Other keepers will charge of their line on a regular basis, but they will create more problems than solutions. Neuer is not only agile and good with his feet, but his decision making is first class.
Despite all those great attributes and performances in 2014, Neuer should NOT win the Balon D’Or for 2014. Yes, he had a great season for Bayern and Germany. Yes, he is the best goalkeeper in the world. But, his achievements do not outrank those of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is setting goalscoring records with every passing week.
Neuer’s time may come in 2015 or 2016, but this past year’s Balon D’Or winner will surely be Cristiano Ronaldo.