By Prince Dulzy
In 2014, Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed the best of his career with scoring goals and breaking records left, right and centre. It was simply outstanding.
With 61 goals for club and country, the Madeira born was far above everyone and no doubt he was the most prolific goal scorer on the planet, enjoying success with Real Madrid.
He went far beyond his goal scoring and led the Spanish giants to Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup and the long awaited club’s 10th European crown, ‘La Decima’. He outgunned Lionel Messi in every way.
Already, in the first half of 2014-15 season, the 2014 Ballon d’Or winner has loose his chains and set a blistering pace, racking up 33 goals in 28 appearances for Los Merengues; with 26 goals in just 16 La Liga matches.
Cristiano Ronaldo rampant form in front of goal saw him break an array of individual records in 2014.
In December, when he played against Celta Vigo and scored a hat-trick – his 23rd, that was when he cemented his name in the history book for most hat-tricks in La Liga surpassing Telmo Zarra and his own idol Alfredo Di Stefano.
Without forgetting, that goals registered his 198th, 199th, and 200th goals in top division, La Liga; all these goals in just 178th appearance – the fastest anyone has achieved that milestone.
He scored 17 times for Real Madrid in the Champion League last season to set a new benchmark for goals in a single season – It paid off with Real Madrid being crowned top in Europe.
Real Madrid winning streaks need to be commended. Imagine how difficult it is for a team to remain unbeaten for a very long time, and not just unbeaten but to win every game – not even a draw.
To understand how difficult that can be, you only need to examine the longest winning streaks enjoyed by Europe’s leading clubs in the 2014-15 season:
Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City’s both ended up with nine games, Barcelona’s is eight, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Juventus all had six in a row and Atletico Madrid’s is five.
Real Madrid overcame that hurdle and went 22 matches winning streaks with the help of their leader, Cristiano Ronaldo.
The argument that Manuel Neuer should have won because of winning the World Cup is flawed.
It is just a misguided assumption that the World Cup offers the highest quality of football of any competition.
Is neither here nor there as simple as that. Not even close.
Rather it is the Champions League that offers the highest quality of football.
Just imagine, the scorer in the World Cup Final is even forgotten. I mean Mario Gotze, at least he scored for them to lift the trophy.
Or would you say that by chance if Greece should have reached the final and won (they won the Euros 2004), then any of their players should win the Ballon d’Or.
Don’t think so.
Let us be frank with ourselves – World Cup or no World Cup, we want the best player for the entire season and not just a best player in a competition lasting for just a month.
Most of the players in the semi-finals and final of the World Cup will even not come close to starting XI of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and many other European clubs.
So using Germany to justify Manuel Neuer’s case over Ronaldo is preposterous.
Ronaldo is simply the best player in world football. That’s what the Ballon d’Or is about.