Cristiano Ronaldo, despite scoring a staggering total of 69 goals in only 59 games in 2013, did not deserve the Ballon D’or award as the year’s best player. At least, that’s what one of his competitors, Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery now says.
Cristiano Ronaldo won the coveted trophy for the first time last Monday, at an awards ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland, home base of the world football (aka soccer) governing body, FIFA. The final three nominees were Ronaldo, Ribery and Barcelona’s brilliant Lionel Messi, who had a grip on the trophy for the previous four years.
Messi hasn’t said anything, but Ribery has not exactly extended his congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portuguese superstar who leads Spain’s Real Madrid side. In fact, he feels that Europe’s best player last year was not Cristiano Ronaldo. It was Franck Ribery.
“I won everything, with the team and individually. Ronaldo won nothing,” Ribery told a German newspaper, quoted by Sky Sports. “I feel I had earned this award. It’s all politics.”
While Ribery may or may not fully understand the criteria for the award and why it went to Cristiano Ronaldo this time around, he has at least some kind of a point. Ribery was the best player on the 2012-2013 Bayern Munich squad that won not only Germany’s top flight Bundesliga, but also the arduous UEFA Champions League tournament as well.
In addition, Bayern Munich, led by Ribery, won the UEFA Super Cup — a single game pitting the Champions League winner against the champion of the lower-ranked UEFA Europa League — and the FIFA Club World Cup.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo, well, as Ribery so bluntly pointed out, his Real Madrid squad won nothing last year.
Ribery is so alienated by the Cristiano Ronaldo victory that he doesn’t even want to be considered for the award again.
“The Ballon D’Or means nothing to me,” he said.
The year that the trophy went to Cristiano Ronaldo may be the last time, at least for a few years, that Ribery has a shot at the trophy. Along with his France national side teammate Karim Benzema — who plays for the same Real Madrid club as Cristiano Ronaldo — Ribery faces an upcoming trial on a charge of soliciting an underage prostitute, according to Sports Illustrated.
If convicted, both Ribery and Benzema could find themselves in prison for three years.
Ribery found some support, but only partial support, from one of France’s greatest all-time players, Zinedine Zidane, who backed Cristiano Ronaldo for the award, but also felt that Ribery “deserved something.”
“For me, the award should only be won on what the player does on the pitch,” said Zidane, quoted on Goal.com. “Franck was outstanding.” But Zidane then cited the 69 goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo as the deciding factor. “To do that is something incredible,” he said.