When I was asked to set odds for who would win best football player in the world, I originally jumped at the idea. Would it be Aaron Rodgers? Antonio Brown? DeMarcus Ware? Well, apparently, they were talking about a different sorta “football.”
I love me some soccer, but I’ll admit, in a year without an international tournament, my soccer bona fides are lagging behind those of, say, Kevin in advertising. (He’s Irish, so it’s genetic.) Luckily, Kevin had some spare time and agreed to lend a hand.
Odds to win the 2015 Ballon d’Or:
- Lionel Messi: 2/9
Kevin’s take: Messi won it every year from 2009 up to 2012, and then came second to Ronaldo the last two years and also in 2008; this year, Messi has 45 goals and 24 assists in 53 games, helping Barca win the Spanish treble. The only real knock on him is that Barcelona signed Luis Suarez and Neymar, who could both possibly come third in voting.
I seem to recall Messi not scoring in the Champions League Final, which was not a very “best player in the world” move by him! But, on the other hand, Messi endeared himself to me personally when he wore jorts to meet the President of Gabon. With Messi out of commission until the three finalists are announced, he won’t be able to do any last-minute campaigning. But he’s already done enough to be our frontrunner.
- Cristiano Ronaldo: 4/1
Kevin’s take: Ronaldo has 43 goals and only 12 assists in 45 games. In the Champions League last season, he and Messi both broke the previous record for most all-time goals in the competition. They went back and forth all season for the record until Ronaldo pulled away late in the year. Ronaldo is now five goals ahead of Messi, on 82. With Messi injured, Ronaldo needs a big two months to overtake the little wizard.
Kevin is higher on Ronaldo than I am. I don’t even think Cristiano is the best “Ronaldo” going right now. Fat Ronaldo played a charity game last spring; don’t tell me you wouldn’t rather have this guy on your team. But I guess Messi has won it four times to Cristiano’s three, so if you’re the kind that believes in equity, it’s probably his year to win it again isn’t it? Because god forbid life doesn’t go Ronaldo’s way for once.
- Robert Lewandowski: 12/1
Kevin’s take: He’s probably the best No. 9 or striker in the world right now: 22 goals in 17 games, including five goals in nine minutes a couple weeks ago. Luis Suarez, Neymar, and Lewandowski will probably fight it out for third place.
He scored five goals in the time it would take me to get to the front of a Chipotle line during non-peak hours. As much credit as he gets for finishing, can we give some credit to Wolfsburg for misplaying the ball every time? If the Ballon d’Or goes to the best player in the world, we need an award for the worst, the “Platinum Commode” perhaps.
But honestly, didn’t they think of keying in on him after, like, the third goal? Or did they just figure he was due to miss the net eventually?
Kevin’s take: Neymar was man of the match in his last two games; he’s playing really well at the moment, picking up the slack with Messi out. He has eight goals in the last ten games. Suarez actually said a while back that Neymar should win it.
That’s Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior to you! I don’t know why he shortens it, that rolls right off the tongue. It says a lot about Neymar that he can replace a legend for a couple months and the team’s production doesn’t really drop off. That’s more than Sepp Blatter’s temporary replacement can say! Under Issa Hayatou, we haven’t had any new corruption scandals, violation of labor laws, or candy stolen from small children.
- Luis Suarez: 25/1
Kevin’s take: This Sunday will be a year to the day since he made his debut for Barca. He has 7 goals in 13 games this season, and he probably would have come, like, third last year had he not bitten that guy. Apparently you don’t even get shortlisted when you bite people, though.
I definitely remember ol’ chompers. It’s nice to know being a terrible human can limit your ability to be universally respected for your soccer-ing, if only for a year. But I guess he could win it this year, since we’ve all apparently moved on from the fact that he’s a racist and all …
- Paul Pogba: 50/1
Kevin’s take: Dude, you gotta stop bugging me. I have work to do.
I did. Pogba’s not gonna win.
- Alexis Sanchez: 50/1
- Bastien Schweinsteiger: 55/1
- Sergio Aguero: 70/1
- Arjen Robben: 70/1
- Eden Hazard: 80/1
- Arturo Vidal: 80/1
- Gareth Bale: 100/1
- Manuel Neuer: 100/1
- James Rodriguez: 100/1
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic: 120/1
- Ivan Rakitic: 120/1
- Andrés Iniesta: 150/1
- Javier Mascherano: 150/1
- Thomas Muller: 150/1
- Karim Benzema: 200/1
- Kevin De Bruyne: 200/1
- Toni Kroos: 200/1
- Yaya Toure: 250/1
- Massimo Luongo: (Eliminated, but not forgotten!)
Kevin’s take: In the 59 man list, they included this guy Massimo Luongo who plays for a terrible team in the second division in England. He actually won the Asian cup with Australia and was the MVP of the tournament, but everyone still made fun of him.
Poor Massimo! If it’s any consolation, you get included in this list. That will probably give you more notoriety than winning with an Australian team anyways.
(Photo Credit: Christopher Johnson (Lionel Messi) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.)
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