National team captains and head coaches from 207 different FIFA member associations have cast their votes for the FIFA Ballon d’Or. The winner and world’s greatest player will be announced in Zurich on January 11, 2016.
One of Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi has taken home the prestigious award each of the last seven years, and the two are up as nominations again this year – this time alongside Messi’s Barcelona counterpart, Neymar.
But who, out of these three coveted goal scorers, will actually take home the award? Will Neymar break the trend of Ronaldo and Messi’s domination? Will Ronaldo complete a Ballon d’Or hat trick and win the award three times in a row? Or will Messi add a fifth to his unending trophy case?
Messi and Ronaldo lead their compatriot Neymar in both the goals an assists column, and the young Brazilian has played more games than both his opponents. Neymar’s goals and assists per minute also lag just a bit behind the two world-beaters in the other columns. Is it possible Neymar comes out on top regardless of these shortcomings?
In the Messi vs Ronaldo department, Messi far outweighs his Portuguese opponent in assists, but he has done so in more games than Ronaldo. Other than that, the two timeless competitors are neck and neck over the last year and are sure to make the running quite tight when the votes finally start to come in.
Stats don’t tell the whole story, however, as each of these players make numerous contributions per game that don’t go down on a stat sheet. Messi’s vital presence for Barcelona was highlighted in the first few games of his absence due to recent injury when Barcelona struggled for points.
Regardless of the winner of the FIFA Ballon d’Or award, it is certain that these nominees are of the utmost importance to their respective squads and while their stats may not tell the whole story, they sure tell a lot of it.
Who do you think will win the FIFA Ballon d’Or 2016?