Skip to main content

5 reasons why Lionel Messi will win fifth Ballon d'Or in 2015


Barcelona never stops. We may only be in September and the new season still in its infancy, but that doesn't stop us debating the who we think deserves to be named the world's greatest footballer.

The Ballon d'Or voting takes place in November and four-time winner Lionel Messi must surely be the favourite to take the award he last won back in 2012. While many youngsters are already being tipped as 'The Next Messi", it is clear La Pulga is a unique talent.

Here we take a look at five reasons why the Argentine should be crowned for an unprecedented fifth time in January.

1. Moments of inspiration


Goalscoring and assist stats don't always tell the whole story when it comes to analysing football. To look at the sport merely in terms of numbers would take away some of the romance that leads us to fall in love with the game in the first place.

What they can do however is offer a quick glimpse into the consistency of a player, and the first thing that catches the eye when reading Lionel Messi's statistics are the extraordianry goals to games ratios.

In the 2014-2015 season, the Argentine scored an astonishing 58 goals in 57 appearances for his club. To maintain that scoring ratio at the very highest level of the game is a testament to the outrageous goalscoring qualities Messi possesses.

One area the numbers don't tell the whole story, however, is the importance of some of these goals. Yes there are the hat-tricks and braces against teams with leaky defences who tend to occupy the lower positions of the La Liga table that help stack up the goalscoring tallies, but there also the match-winning goals against the cream of Europe that have helped bring numerous trophies to Barcelona this year.

A few examples of these feats in 2015 so far include destroying Bayern Munich with two late goals in a Champions League semi-final to send the Camp Nou into ecstasy. Little more than a fortnight later and Atletico Madrid were on the receiving end as Messi stepped up again with the winning goal that secured a 23rd La Liga title for the Catalans.

Shortly after came two goals in the Copa Del Rey final - the first of which being a dazzling solo effort that will bring repeat viewings for years to come. More recently there were the two expertly executed free kicks in the 5-4 victory over Sevilla in which Barcelona won the UEFA Super Cup.

Messi has produced these goalscoring numbers season after season but this year he has produced moments of such importance on the big occasions that make him almost impossible to ignore when it comes to the voting for the next recipient of the Ballon D'Or.

2. Overall influence


One aspect of his game which separates Messi from the rest of the world's great talents is the overall influence he brings to a team. Given his bitter history with the club, praise from Jose Mourinho for anyone associated with Barcelona is a rare thing indeed. But the ex-Real Madrid coach accurately summed the talents of Messi up well when he implied the Argentine would immediately elevate any team he played for to an entirely new level.

Provider of 28 assists last season, Messi has this year matured into a footballer who seemingly doesn't need to rely on his explosiveness or pace quite as regularly in order to have a positive effect on a match.

He can of course still accelerate past an opposing player and produce moments of wizardry. What has perhaps been more impressive this year though has been the improvement in his playmaking abilities, regularly dropping deeper into midfield to dictate games in a more composed manner for the team.

The La Masia graduate has himself alluded to the possibility of dropping into a midfield position in the latter part of his career. The biggest compliment we can probably pay to Messi on this point is that he will still in all likelihood be just as influential in an entirely new position. There aren't too many players in the history of the game we could say that about.


3. Trophy haul


As has been the case in recent years, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were once again the main frontrunners for the Balon d'Or in 2014. Both had produced extraordinary individual feats in terms of goalscoring and all-round influence on their respective teams. There can only be one winner though of course and the Portuguese star retained the award he won in 2013.

With little separating the two stars in terms of talent, voters had a tough choice to make. The feeling was that Ronaldo had gotten the edge over Messi as he could back up his individual achievements with a major trophy at club level through winning the Champions League and Copa Del Rey with Real Madrid. In comparison, Messi and Barcelona endured a rare barren year in terms of trophies.

Whether winning things as a team should affect how an individual contest is judged is open to debate. However, if it is an area in which voters take into consideration, it is certainly not an obstacle that can stop Messi being crowned this year. 2015 has been a glorious year for Barcelona as they have reigned victorious in La Liga, the Copa Del Rey, the UEFA Super Cup and, of course, the biggest of all club competitions - the Champions League.

If there are any criticisms to be had of Messi they may arrive when assessing his international achievements. As they did in 2014 some will point to the fact that he is still to inspire his country to a major tournament victory as his idol Diego Maradona did. As against Germany in the World Cup last year, Messi and Argentina fell at the final hurdle once again as they were defeated on penalties by hosts Chile in the Copa America.

Given the influence the Rosario native has had on Barcelona winning four major trophies this year, though, it would be extremely harsh to use that as a stick to beat him with. 

4. Rivals great, but not quite great enough

There haven't been too many players to produce performances even close to those of Messi so far this year. In fact among his closest competitors are two of the Argentine’s team-mates, namely his Barcelona strike partners Luis Suarez and Neymar. All three were major contributors as Barcelona powered their way to the treble last season.

Suarez, due to his ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup, didn't appear for the club until October 2014. After a relatively slow start by his high standards, the Uruguayan soon displayed the form he displayed at Liverpool. With his tireless running in the channels, superb technical ability and natural finishing Suarez ended the season with 25 goals including a strike in the champions League final.

The third of Barcelona’s three amigos, Neymar really stepped up to the mark after an inconsistent first season in Catalunya. The 23-year-old Brazilian captain worked superbly with Messi and Suarez in a fluid front three, finishing the season with an outstanding thirty-nine goals. The ex-Santos man also sealed Barca's Champion's League with the third goal in a 3-1 win over Juventus.

Then of course there is Messi's ever-present rival for the title of the world's no.1, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid superstar completed another outstanding season in which he took his goalscoring tally to an incredible 61 goals in just 54 appearances. The 30-year-old Portuguese proved the talisman for his club side yet again.

However, as we have already alluded to, the awarding for the Ballon D'or is about more than just goals. Any criticism of Ronaldo would be harsh, but one area where he has undoubtedly been inferior to Messi this year has been in overall influence on his team.

Ronaldo is seemingly evolving into more of an orthodox striker which in turn is seeing him slightly less involved in the game. Of course, he is still a phenomenal player and the goalscoring abilities he brings to the side are irreplaceable. Ronaldo is also more effective in the air than Messi yet he doesn't possess the same game intelligence and passing ability that Messi carries.

Ronaldo, Suarez and Neymar would all be very worthy winners of the prestigious award in any other year - all three have been outstanding. They just happen to be unfortunate that this is a year in which Messi has truly outshone everyone else.


5. Proving the doubters wrong


It may seem ridiculous now, but it wasn't too long ago there were a substantial number of pundits, journalists and spectators wondering whether we had seen the best of Messi.

Following a World Cup Final against Germany in which Messi failed to inspire Argentina to a first World Cup since 1986 there were those that harboured doubts over Messi's hunger for the game and questions were raised over whether he could rouse himself to produce the match-winning displays of old on such a consistent basis as he had in the past.

It is true that at the World Cup and the first half of last season Messi sometimes looked exhausted and his body language suggested he was slightly disinterested. This shouldn't be surprising given the Argentine, who has been at Barcelona since the age of 13, has played over 600 professional games at the age of 28-year-old. Fatigue is bound to set in at some point.

The Argentine's extraordinary consistency means that whenever he does fall below his exceedingly high standards for any amount of time, there will be those ready to question him. There were even rumours linking Messi away from Barcelona following a supposed fall-out with Camp Nou boss Luis Enrique. Add to this the well-publicised tax fraud charges he is facing and not all seemed right in Messi's world.

Ever since the turn of the year, however, Messi has had the look of a man with a renewed hunger and if anything has looked a better player than ever. This from a man many believe to already have been the greatest to ever play the game.

It is as if Messi has looked at himself and seen where he can make improvements to not only get back to his best but take his talents to another level. We are now witnessing a more mature Messi in terms of passing and positioning, yet one that still possesses the same dazzling dribbling ability that brings joy to all those that have the privilege to watch him.

Should Lionel Messi win his fifth Ballon d'Or in 2015? Of course, the contest in not even close!

By Aaron Attwood, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter @ajattwood

Comments

  1. Thanks for the very comprehensive article, Aaron. Agreed on all fronts, to be honest! Messi is a once in a lifetime player who Barcelona fans are incredibly lucky to have in their club.

    It is truly impossible to see the future of Barca without Messi but, fortunately, that is a problem Cules will not have to worry about for at least six / seven more years. And, as you said, he may even get better with time!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Romeo2.9.15

    1. He is the best .2. He deserve it. .2. He work for it .4. He is a hard worker. .5. He is the best example of soccer

    ReplyDelete
  3. Andes Daniels2.9.15

    Because Messi proved it once again that he worked for it #fairplay

    ReplyDelete
  4. "I am my biggest critique" - Lionel Messi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loving the quote Bay! Also like this one:

      'Talent and elegance mean nothing without rigour and precision' - Lionel Messi

      Do you see anyone other than Messi winning the Ballon d'Or in the next three years?

      Delete
  5. Amine3.9.15

    if Messi feels at home until ballon d'or he would easily win

    ReplyDelete
  6. Renado3.9.15

    Messi had the the best season. UEFA Champions league champ, La liga champion, copa del rey champion, best individual copa America player, UEFA Super cup champion, Man of the match in UEFA super cup and UEFA best player. HE really deserves the Ballon d'or.

    ReplyDelete
  7. He is indeed phenomenal , Best maestro of all time.& incomparable. we wont see any other player like him so lets enjoy seeing him while we can.

    ReplyDelete
  8. He is indeed phenomenal , Best maestro of all time.& incomparable. we wont see any other player like him so lets enjoy seeing him while we can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! Barcelona fans (or football lovers around the world, from a more general perspective) will never see anybody come close to Messi's brilliance.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Barcelona must improve dramatically to even dream of comeback vs Juventus

Barcelona host Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday (2:30 PM ET, EXCLUSIVE ONLINE STREAMING here). The Catalans, who fully deserved the 3-0 defeat in the first leg, will have to once again fight for a miraculous comeback in front of their home fans.

Luis Enrique's men must try their utmost to pile up the pressure from the initial whistle and score an early goal if they are going to have any chance of qualifying for the semifinals. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and the rest of the Barcelona stars must ensure they use the whole width of the pitch and constant ball movement in order to open up spaces within the Juventus back-line.

Barcelona captain Andres Iniesta seemed to be up for the challenge during his pre-match press conference: "We have the potential and the players to turn it around. We have to play a perfect game. We have to create the maximum number of chances and score goals. I have no doubt there will be a great atmosphere tomorrow—the fans will be behind us. A…

Paulo Dybala, Neymar, Luis Enrique, Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta | Top 5 Barcelona News

Paulo Dybala, Neymar, Luis Enrique, Dani Alves and Andres Iniesta all feature in today's Top 5 Barcelona News:



How to watch El Clasico online, on mobile and on TV | HD Real Madrid - Barcelona Streaming

Barcelona travel to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the biggest game in world football: El Clasico! Currently trailing Los Blancos by three points in the La Liga table, Luis Enrique's men have no option but to take the three points back to Catalunya if they are to conquer the league again this season.

In the absence of the banned Neymar, Barca will trust Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez to lead their attack once again. If the team's midfield can take control of the game with their traditional commanding passing and their back-line manages to avoid any unnecessary slip-ups, there is reason to believe in a Blaugrana victory in El Clasico.

There's no two ways about it: You would be crazy miss a second of the action as watching El Clasico is now easier than ever -- even on the go! Whether you live in or outside the USA, you can easily stream every Barca match to your desktop computer, mobile device or even your TV.
US ONLY: JOIN FUBOTV
FuboTV is a live streaming channe…

Barcelona right to appeal Neymar controversial ban ahead of El Clasico

Neymar's decision to applaud the referee after being sent off during Barcelona's defeat in Malaga on Sunday was not very clever. His childish reaction after being shown a controversial red card gave the Spanish officials a golden opportunity to ban him for the Catalans' next three matches -- including the upcoming Clasico against Real Madrid.

As it was to be expected, the Barcelona board have wasted no time in starting the process to appeal Neymar's disproportionate ban. It is believed the Camp Nou giants will until Friday 21st April, two days before El Clasico, to file their appeal at the TAD Committee. That way, it is more than likely that the officials will run out of time to make a decision and be forced to postpone the case a further week -- meaning that Neymar would be able to suit up against Real Madrid after all.

Sure, Neymar's behaviour was out of order. Having said that, it is hardly surprising that the Spanish officials banned him for just enough matche…

Neymar must stay to secure Barcelona long-term success

Neymar has been excellent for Barcelona since he joined the Catalan giants back in the summer of 2013. Despite the many question marks over whether he would accept to share the spotlight with Lionel Messi, his professionalism off the pitch and even the legality of his transfer, the Brazilian youngster has made a remarkable impact and deservedly become a Camp Nou favourite.

As our partners as Sbobet Mobile know, Barcelona are not currently leading the La Liga table but nobody in their right mind would rule them out of retaining the title. If the Blaugranas are to leapfrog Real Madrid before the end of the season and win the league for the third consecutive season, Neymar has a huge role to play in the nine games remaining.

Fortunately for Cules, Neymar is currently playing the best football of his whole career. Fully established at both club and international level, the No.11's confidence and excellent form makes him a constant danger that rivals constantly struggle to contain -- …

Barcelona rewriting history after 1,500 matches at glorious Camp Nou

Barcelona have now played a staggering 1,500 games of football at the Camp Nou. The stadium, which was built back in 1957 to replace the legendary Les Corts Stadium due to the demand for tickets exceeding the ground’s capacity, has witnessed 1,119 Barca wins, 238 draws and only 143 defeats over the years.

Barca are clearly not invincible at the Camp Nou but their winning records of 75% and being unbeaten in 90% of home games speaks for themselves.

Barcelona have now become a global phenomenon thanks to not only their dominance, but also the many world-class stars that have been part of their squad over the years. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar take the vast majority of the spotlight these days, but their success can only be understood as a continuation of the work of legends such as Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Hristo Stoichkov or Lazlo Kubala over the years.


Camp Nou is a synonym of sporting excellence these days. The recent successes under the leadership of Luis Enrique…

Advertise on Barcablog.com

Welcome to our Barcablog advertising page!

If this is your first visit to our blog, I recommend that you take a look at our Charity Mission Statement to know more about our community and all that our website has to offer.

An Introduction to Barcablog

Hi! I am Francesc Tomàs -- the person behind Barcablog.com -- and your first point of contact for all media related enquiries. Let me give you an overview of the website and some of the advertisement options available for your business.

Barcablog.com was started in June 2010 as a hobby and in a few short years, it has become one of the most popular FC Barcelona blogs in the world, reaching a social media audience of 710,000+ followers and receiving positive feedback from many media outlets around the globe.

Thanks to the success of Barcablog.com, I have had the chance to contribute to major outlets such as ESPN, Weloba and The Guardian, to name a few. My work has also been highlighted by the official FC Barcelona website several times ove…

How to watch every Barcelona game online, on mobile and on TV

Barcelona, lead by their legendary attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, are on a mission to bring more trophies to the Camp Nou museum this season -- and you should not miss a second of the action!

Whether you live in or outside the USA, you can easily stream every Barca match to your desktop computer, mobile device or even your TV.
US ONLY: JOIN FUBOTV
FuboTV is a live streaming channel that offers every Barcelona match as well as the whole of La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and Premiera Liga for only $6.99 a month.

I have personally been watching Barca on FuboTV for years and the 1080p Ultra-HD quality is certainly the best in the market right now. No more dodgy, pixelated streaming for me!

There is a 7-DAY free trial option available and if you cancel your subscription within 24 hours you will not be charged.

Click here to sign up for a 7-DAY free trial with FuboTV.

OUTSIDE THE US: INSTALL CYBERGHOST FIRST
Fubo TV is currently only available in US. To watch …

Neymar, Messi, Ter Stegen lift Barcelona to greatest comeback in Champions League history

Sergi Roberto’s last gasp winner against Paris Saint Germain became an instantly legendary moment that Barcelona fans will cherish forever. Although the Camp Nou faithful are aware that qualifying for the Champions League quarterfinals is not a huge achievement in itself, the players’ determination to complete the biggest ever comeback in the biggest club competition in world football was impressive.

While it came down to Sergi Roberto to seal the historic win, the La Masia graduate was certainly not the only player to excel in Barcelona’s most important game of the season.

Neymar was, without a shadow of a doubt, the leader who took the Catalan giants to victory. His premonitory ‘1% chance, 99% faith’ tweet before the ball started rolling at the Camp Nou could not have been more fitting for the excellent performance that followed.

The Brazilian star proved a constant nightmare that the astounded Parisian back-line simply had no answer for. His astute positioning, magical dribbling a…

Barcelona should be embarrassed after shocking 3-0 defeat vs Juventus

Barcelona's 3-0 defeat in Turin against Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals was little short of embarrassing. Given the recent experience of losing 4-0 in Paris and needing a miracle at the Camp Nou to qualify for the next round, it is baffling to see how Luis Enrique's team failed to learn from their many mistakes.

The inclusion of Jeremy Mathieu in the starting XI, Javier Mascherano's inability to defend corners and Luis Enrique's puzzling decision to play Andre Gomes and keep both Jordi Alba and Paco Alcacer as unused subs are some of the reasons for Barca's dismal performance. Having said that, the main factor was the team's lack of intensity and overall inability to step up the pace to match Juventus' ambition.

Sure, miracles do happen in football and a comeback at the Camp Nou can't be ruled out at this point. However, Lionel Messi and co. should have really tried much harder to not find in such a terrible position fo…