Lionel Messi’s individual achievements last season should not be underestimated. His 60 goals in all competitions for Barcelona remains a phenomenal tally. Heck, the likes of Victor Anichebe and Shola Ameobi haven’t reached this figure across their lengthy club careers.
However, whether this is enough to secure Messi the Ballon d’Or accolade for the fifth successive year is up for debate, even if the Argentine is 6/4 to land the honour.
After all, Barcelona only lifted one trophy last season, their lowest return since Frank Rijkaard’s failed 2007/08 campaign in charge.
Furthermore, Messi’s goal tally was actually a decline on the year previous, when he netted 73 times for Barcelona in all competitions.
While Barcelona were settling for winning back their La Liga crown from Real Madrid, it was Bayern Munich that became the European superpower and their dominance simply has to be rewarded with a Ballon d’Or winner.
A number of players contributed to this success, with Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm among the nominations.
However, Franck Ribery would be the most deserving winner and now he has even been backed into 6/5 favourite to break Messi’s stranglehold of the Ballon d’Or.
Germany manager Joachim Low has previously surmised that Ribery is the best player in the Bundesliga, with his ability to do everything from the left-sided role making him perfect for Bayern.
Not only does he work up and down the line, he can go both ways past a full-back, he can score goals and most importantly, he is a team player.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are set up to get the most out of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively, but to shine as Ribery has in a line-up where the team comes first, is a fine effort.
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