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Messi evens to win fifth straight Ballon d’Or

Article, European Football, Featured, Free Bets, La Liga, News, Trading, World Football | Article posted on January 9th, 2013

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Messi evens to win fifth straight Ballon d’Or

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Every week, bookmaker and former Racing Post chief sports betting writer Mark Worwood tackles one of football’s hottest topics from a punting perspective.

 

 

Can anyone stop Lionel Messi winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or for the fifth year in a row in 2013? And is Messi the best Argentine footballer ever? Those are two of the major questions being debated in soccer circles this week.

 

Let’s tackle the FIFA Ballon d’Or question first. Paddy Power has installed Messi as its even-money favourite to take out the 2013 prize and it is difficult to see the bookmaker writing a bet on anyone else in its market, including Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo at 11-4, Spain’s Andres Iniesta at 7-1 and Colombia’s Radamel Falcao at 12-1.

 

Even though Messi scored 91 goals in 69 games during 2012, there was a case to be made against him winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or. After all, since 1995, when France Football changed the Ballon d’Or eligibility rules to include non-European players provided that they were on the books of a European club, the award winner in European Championship years had always been a European – Germany’s Matthias Sammer in 1996, Portugal’s Luis Figo in 2000, Ukraine’s Andriy Shevchenko in 2004 and Portugal’s Ronaldo in 2008.

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English: Diego Maradona with the FIFA U-20 Wor...

English: Diego Maradona with the FIFA U-20 World Cup during the 1979 FIFA World Youth Championship in Japan. Español: Diego Maradona con la copa. Campeonato Mundial de Futbol Juvenil 1979. Italiano: Diego Maradona con la coppa del mondo FIFA durante il Campionato mondiale di calcio Under-20 1979 in Giappone. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Furthermore, Messi’s Barcelona teammate Iniesta went into the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or having picked up the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, polling 19 votes to the 17 apiece of the Argentine genius and Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo.

 

So it was a remarkable result for Messi to win the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or so emphatically – he polled 41.60 per cent of the vote, compared to Ronaldo’s 23.68% and Iniesta’s 10.91% – and suggests that he will mighty hard to dethrone in 2013, a year in which the CAF African Cup of Nations is the pick of the international tournaments and his Barcelona team is less than 11-2 with Ladbrokes to win the Spanish La Liga, Spanish Copa del Rey and UEFA Champions League treble.

 

Put your money in the bank and you will be lucky to make a couple of per cent in these post-Global Financial Crisis times. Put your money on Messi winning the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or and, barring serious injury, you should double up.

 

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No-one argues that Messi is a wonderful footballer but is he better than Diego Maradona? For me, until Messi either wins a FIFA World Cup title with Argentina or leaves Barcelona and turns a mediocre club side into a great one, Maradona remains just that little bit ahead of the current artist.

 

Maradona was the difference between Argentina winning the 1986 FIFA World Cup and not even making it past England in the quarter-finals. Lost amid Maradona’s Hand of God goal is that he scored what was voted as the goal of the century later in the same match, a goal so good that there is a statue erected in its memory outside the Aztec Stadium in Mexico. Also, Maradona led an extremely limited Argentina team to the 1990 FIFA World Cup title decider in Italy.

 

In club football, Maradona’s arrival at Napoli transformed into an Italian Serie A powerhouse, with the southern side rising from the middle of the table to win the league championship in 1987 and 1990. So great was Maradona’s influence that Napoli has retired its number 10 shirt.

 

 

How many FIFA Ballon d’Or crowns in a row do you think that Messi will win? Is he the best ever? Send me your comments.

 

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