The FIFA Ballon d’Or didn’t offer up any surprises in the awards that were handed out tonight at the ceremony. But that isn’t a bad thing because everyone that was presented with an award deserved it and that is why they were at this prestigious event.
The biggest names in football were in attendance with the setting for the awards packed to the rafters and also the event was broadcast live on Eurosport in the UK and on other channels around the world.
Team of the year:
Barcelona and Real Madrid dominated the FIFA team of the year award with 10 of the 11 players coming from one team or the other. Out of favour Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, defenders Segio Ramos and Marcelo along with Barcelona’s Dani Alves and Gerard Piqué made up the defence of the world team award. All of them have performed exceptionally in each game that they were involved with last season and that along with a number of other reasons are why they are in the world team.
Real Madrid’s Xabi Alonso and Barcelona’s Xavi and one of the Ballon d’Or final three Andreas Iniesta made up the midfield. Alonso since he left Liverpool has picked up a number of awards and this is another one to add to that list, which I’m sure is as important as the rest even though it isn’t a individual award for him to take home.
Finally Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, along with Atletico Madrid’s prolific striker Radamel Falcao making up the forward three in the FIFA team of the year. Ronaldo and Messi were definitely not a surprise to be included in this team seen as though they were short listed for the Ballon d’Or award. But Falcao was probably a surprise for some people, but for me he is as deserving to be included as the other ten players. His magnificent goal scoring record and all round outstanding performances throughout last season should have guaranteed him a spot over any other striker in the world.
Coach of the year:
Vicente Del Bosque
Vicente Del Bosque ensured Spain won the Euro 2012 tournament which they deserved to win without a doubt. His no nonsense managerial style ensured that the brilliant Spanish team dominated the World Cup games that they were involved in from start until finish, apart from the one slip up against Switzerland!
Del Bosque also has a fatherly side which I’m sure the Spain players appreciate when they need someone to talk to. He is also a person that you can be sure will want 110% from his players every time they take to the pitch.
The Spanish coach is undeniably one of the best coaches in the world and deserved to win the award this year, not only because of the Euro 2012 triumph, but because of his work off the pitch in ensuring that all of his players were in top condition before every match. He wasn’t afraid to leave out players who people believed would make the difference on the pitch, but if Del Bosque didn’t think they would perform to the best of their standards he would leave them out and 99 times out 100 it paid off.
FIFA Puskas award (Best goal):
The FIFA Puskas award went to Miroslav Stoch’s volley earlier last season. The ball was swung in from a corner on the right and Stoch who was placed at the edge of the opposition boxed turned his body and curled the shot into the top left hand corner. It was the technique and calmness which he put the ball into the net that won it over the other goals for me. Neymar’s long, technically and mazy run against Internacional was one of the other contenders, along with Radamel Falcao’s bicycle kick from a corner.
Honestly I think that Falcao’s over head kick in La Liga was a more deserved winner because the skill and power that he had to use to convert the chance into the net was unbelievable. Yet again, like Stoch’s, it was a corner and the ball was kicked long, but Falcao changed his position and struck the ball into the once place that the keeper couldn’t reach it.
But no disrespect to Stoch I could only imagine scoring a goal like that and the skill that was required to execute the shot was excellent. The voting panel obviously believe that it ticked all of e boxes and deserved the Puskas award for 2012.
There were other awards on offer at the prestigious event, including Sepp Blatter’s FIFA presidential award, FIFA fair play award and FIFA women’s player of the year award:
FIFA Presidential award:
FIFA fair play award:
Uzbekistan football federation
FIFA women’s player of the year award:
Abby Wambach (USA)
But the most anticipated award was announced at the end of the even and the result was not a surprise to the majority of the people in attendance and the millions watching at home.
Ballon d’Or winner:
It couldn’t have been anyone else. Picking up the award for the fourth time and becoming the only player ever to get four Ballon d’Or awards. Lionel Messi broke a number of records last year and begins 2013 by doing the same. He overtook Zidane and Ronaldo who also had three Ballon d’Or awards each.
The Argentina captain was speechless when he first went on stage to pick up the award, but gave a heart warming speech thanking his team mates and fellow Ballon d’Or candidate Andreas Iniesta for his hard work and support at Barcelona. The mini maestro also dedicated the award to his family and especially his wife and young son.
His record breaking year last year was mentioned numerous times with the goal scoring record of 91 goals in a calendar year was applauded by everyone in attendance. It’s hard to believe that he is only 25 years of age and is already, arguably, the best player of all time.
Messi, who also picked up an award for being part of the FIFA world team, received a standing ovation when his name was read out by Italy legend, Favio Cannavaro. The Barcelona ace is always quick to thank his team mates for their hard work and the manager and coaching staff for their work rate as well. But even if Messi won’t talk about how he good he is , it is obvious that everyone on the voting panel wanted to show this too him by giving him the award again.
Finally there is no doubt that Messi will continue to dominate the world of football for a number of years to come and I’m sure this wont be the last time that we see him picking up this award. The Argentina and Barcelona legend will keep breaking records and he may have to dedicate another room in his house to trophies that he is guaranteed to win in the coming years.
Bien hecho Lionel Messi el rey del futbol europeo!!