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Why Franck Ribery Deserves to Win the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or

With the ceremony to crown the best player in soccer in January, many are wondering if the award will go to the right athlete.

Before the 2013-14 season started, the favorite to win the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or was Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribéry due to his spectacular influence and playmaking ability on his side’s historic treble. The Frenchman received the UEFA Best Player in Europe in August but then Cristiano Ronaldo’s form was arguably the best of his career starting the season with 17 goals in 15 La Liga appearances, scoring a record 9 goals during the group stages of the Champions League, and scoring four goals during two legs against Sweden to lead Portugal to the 2014 World Cup. When FIFA decided to extend the voting period for the Ballon d’Or by two weeks, many speculated that it was to help the Real Madrid winger win the award. If this is true then it is very unfortunate because four months into a new season should not be enough for a footballer to win a trophy based on the whole calendar year. Statistically, Lionel Messi was still the best player but due to his time away from injury, it hindered his campaign for his fifth Ballon d’Or.

According to many journalists, FIFA does not have a set criteria for the award and that makes it more difficult decide when the competition is as steep as this season. In a letter to members of FIFA, Jerome Valcke, Secretary General of FIFA, stated that the only standard for deciding who should win is “sporting performance as well as general behavior on and off the pitch from 1 January 2013 until now.”

This is too broad and does not pinpoint how to evaluate greatness and judge the importance of the footballer to his side. In a 2011 article on about how Messi won the 2010 Ballon d’Or, writer KS Leong said there was a loose guideline to help voters. The list included; performances in major competitions (Champions League, World Cup, etc.), individual and team honors, individual talent, skill and fair play, overall career, and personality and charisma.

It does not make sense how two years ago had more description on how to rate the footballers and then this year it is relegated to one sentence.

Because of the amount of goals Ronaldo and Messi score at an incredible pace, it seems many have forgotten about the creativity and influence a playmaker can have. Under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage Ribéry has six goals and seven assists in 13 Bundesliga appearances compared to last season in 24 appearances when he had 10 goals and 14 assists in 27 appearances. Guardiola leading Munich has the 30-year old experiencing an elevation in his form and it should not be ignored.

For FIFA to restore credible to the most prestigious individual award to the sport, an official list of criteria has to be made so every voter is using the same concept to evaluate footballers. Also, the FIFA Ballon d’Or should be awarded for a season instead of a calendar year to have a more focused perspective on a footballer’s form was and how it influenced team success. Ronaldo may have the goals but his team fell short in the Copa Del Ray final and in the Champions League semi-finals while Ribéry has been consistent throughout the year and deserves to be crowned.

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  1. Ishmael Moatlhodi Dada

    February 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    well, it’s so ironic that christiano ronaldo has won it. Frank Ribbery clearly deserved to win the ballon d hore due to his spectecular, consistent and super performance at both domestic and international level. Ribbery’s pace, ability to take on opponents and precise passing have made him so outstanding throughout the year. From the 7 goals bayern scored against barcelona in the EUEFA champions League, he either scored or was directly involved in the build up. He is not a striker and hence comparing him to a finisher is’nt the best criteria. Ribbery has established himself as a ball winner, he command influence and initiates change in the game. It is unbelievable that FIFA decided to award it to the undeserving ronaldo. Just scoring goals alone does not necessarily mean you are the best football palyer. I compare this to when david beckham came second in the ballon dhore instead of not being short listed at all. During beckham’s time there were far more superior players like Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, Mohamadou Diarra who deserved the top three, NOT david beckham.
    Frank Ribbery has simply been a victim of poor judgement, unfair selection criteria and selfishness by FIFA in awarding the world footballer of the year.

  2. rasheed B

    January 21, 2014 at 7:50 am

    i think fifa world player of the year is totally politics,if not i dont knw why frank ribery shuld take 3rd position behind C.RONALDO N LIONEL MESSI,i disagree wit those peoples saying RONALDO deserved it.2010 messi won only laliga why sneider won almost everytin wit inter milan even take HOLLAND to the world cup final,but fifa decide to give MESSI the golden ball.what proved did u people want again.those that deserved the aword didnt won it.fifa is a sheet

  3. Pakapala

    January 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Definitely the weakest argument as to why Ribery should win the Ballon d’Or. Unfortunately for Ribery it can be argued (as evidenced by the number of players from Bayern nominated for the award) that he wasn’t the best player or MVP on his team throughout the year. No doubt he helped in Bayern having the year they had, but to characterize his year as outstanding is overstating his contribution for both country and club. Ronaldo (as much as it pains me to admit it) has been consistent individually for club and country throughout the year and has been doing so with great individual performance.
    Despite many people in the media trying to rewrite history, this is and has always been a yearly award that celebrate an individual in the game. People may want to get off their high horse and accept the Ballon d’Or for what it is.

  4. Maliki Aminat

    January 1, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    The ballon d or is Messi cause he outmark both Ronado and Frank last season but since he is on injury break since November, then what are we waiting for. Frank is the fovourite base on his recent form. Do not forget he is the uefa best. Ronado’ is good, his time will come.

  5. abdirahman

    January 1, 2014 at 5:13 am

    it would be the biggest shock ever football have seen!! If ribery finally beat the best two players in the planet had ever seen.

  6. abdirahman

    January 1, 2014 at 5:09 am

    its messi again!! forget aboat ribery and ronaldo. Take an example: in 2010 messi has done nothing.he didn’t win a champions league or world cup and every one was saying iniesta will win it because he scored the winning goal in the final in soccer city,fifa decided to give messi rather than iniesta. And this will be the same again its messi. Ribery won five trophies but didn’t scored many goals as ronaldo and messi.

  7. dust

    December 31, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    In no way is Ribery even close to being in the same class as Ronaldo, Messi, Suarez, Bale, Ibra, Van Persie, Inesta, Lewandowski, Cavani, Neymar, Aquero, YaYa, ….i Could go on,, but Ithikn you get my point…

    when picking a world Squad of 25 for ANY system, Ribery wouldn’t come close to getting in.

    • Austin

      December 31, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      Sir are you on any medications that could have possibly impaired your thoughts? Neymar aguero yaya bale van persie Cavani iniesta? Do you even know who ribery is? Do you even know what football is??? He is easily one of the top three players in the world. ATM he is better than messi, but not Ronaldo. There is a reason he is a finalist for the award and most of the others you named are not. Sounds like your just a bayern hater. Just wait until the world 11 is named. You WILL see ribery there, you just wait.

      • dust

        January 1, 2014 at 1:09 am

        “ATM he is better than messi, but not Ronaldo.”


  8. ktbffh

    December 31, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    i see almost nothing in this article as to why franck ribery deserves to win the ballon d’or…
    u say that guardiola has elevated ribery’s form because in this term he has 6G/7A in 13 apps…while last term he had 10G/14A in 27 apps…so if he keeps on his current pace this term he would be on about 12G/14A in 26apps…for a difference of a whole TWO more goals in one less game…
    if you’re going to make an argument on quantifiable measurable stats, i think there needs to be a bit more there to convince anyone he deserves it as stated.

  9. Flyvanescence

    December 31, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Why Franck Ribery shouldnt win: Cristiano Ronaldo is much better and has been far and a way the best player this year.

    Why the Ballon D’or should NOT be awarded on a season basis: it reduces influence of national team performances. Which do actually matter, English press.

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