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Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d'Or for the third time in a row


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#1 Zomp


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

Here is the list of votes, some are amusing:

http://www.fifa.com/...r_countries.pdf

Nuno Gomes voted Nani in second place. Someone left Messi off their ballot all together.

Quite a few had Neymar second or third. Klinsmann had Forlan on his.


Team of the year is:

Casillas; Dani Alves, Pique, Ramos, Vidic; Xabi Alonso, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney



Hard to argue with those, but Rooney and Casillas seem to be the ones people are arguing most against.



#2 Snakebauer007


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 04:43 PM

Xavi Alonso?

#3 DLew On Roids


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 04:51 PM

Completely agree on the Messi choice. He's Russell to Ronaldo's Chamberlain.

The XI is more puzzling to me, and it seems pretty lazy. Nine Barca/Real players? Really? Dani Alves over...well, any of a dozen fullbacks who can actually track back or stop someone on the wing? Pique and Ramos over Mats Hummels? No room for Edinson Cavani?

And I'd rather have had Scott Parker in 2011 than Xabi Alonso.

Edited by DLew On Roids, 09 January 2012 - 04:54 PM.


#4 Zomp


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 05:03 PM

I don't want to turn this into another Messi/Ronaldo debate, and I do think Messi deserves the award, but I need to see him play without Xavi and Iniesta before anointing him the GOAT like some journalists are.

I don't know the what the qualifiers are for choosing the team. You mention Hummels, but I do think Pique and Vidic are the best 2 center backs in the world. So I don't know if they automatically choose 2 corner backs as well or what. Regardless, I don't think Alves is a bad choice. Ramos on the other hand...

I'm a huge Xabi Alonso fan and have no problem with the choice, but is he even the best midfielder on his team (ozil)?

#5 mikeford


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:03 PM

RVP scored 35 goals in a calender year and couldn't get on the 2011 XI huh?

#6 bosox4283

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:44 PM

Casillas voted for Ozil ahead of Messi.

#7 filthywater49

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 08:03 PM

Completely agree on the Messi choice. He's Russell to Ronaldo's Chamberlain.

The XI is more puzzling to me, and it seems pretty lazy. Nine Barca/Real players? Really? Dani Alves over...well, any of a dozen fullbacks who can actually track back or stop someone on the wing? Pique and Ramos over Mats Hummels? No room for Edinson Cavani?

And I'd rather have had Scott Parker in 2011 than Xabi Alonso.


I have no idea what the fuck Ramos is doing on that list. Should have been Bale, I think. Still, 9 Barca/Real players is at least how many should be on there. It's just a reflection of the balance of power right now, ACasillas probably should have lost to Valdes, who is a completely different keeper than he was 3 years ago, recent Clasico mistake notwithstanding. Really, besides Ramos, who among them doesn't deserve to be on that list? Alonso, I guess? And who do you replace him with? Among holding midfielders, lot of people would say Busquets, given the year he had.

Your criticisms of Alves are outdated. His defensive game has improved dramatically in the last two years--he's reliable on that side of the ball now, and still the best in the world going forward. I really don't think there are any better choices than him.

RVP not being on there is madness.

Edited by filthywater49, 09 January 2012 - 08:12 PM.


#8 Billy R Ford


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:01 PM

The World XI is picked by professional players in fifPro- literally, 50,000+ votes from around the world. I would think there are more than 50,000 pro players, I don't know at what level of the league pyramids they cut guys off.

Says a lot about how the process might pan out- player polls have a tendency, in my opinion, to be based as much on reputation as anything else (in all sports: I'm thinking of things like Jason Varitek being a 2008 All-Star, or Ryan Giggs' 2009 PFA Player of the Year award). Right now, the Premier League and Barcelona/Real Madrid have the reputation of being where the best soccer is played, so that's where the players look to.

That being said, I don't think the choices are that bad. Van Persie is the only serious snub to me. A few others: maybe Manuel Neuer for goalkeeper, he was absolutely brilliant in the Champions League last year and is now in first place for Bayern Munich. David Silva has been better than Xabi Alonso- I understand they play different roles, but as far as I know on the ballot players are only asked to pick "midfielders". Personally I think Pique has looked a little off this season, though maybe I'm overly influenced right now by his poor performance against Espanyol the other day. Thiago Silva or Mats Hummels would be equally good choices imo.

I have no idea who the best left back in the world is right now, so I have no problem with two right backs on the list.

I thought it was funny Messi left both himself and Ronaldo off the ballot.

#9 Apisith

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 09:59 PM

I don't want to turn this into another Messi/Ronaldo debate, and I do think Messi deserves the award, but I need to see him play without Xavi and Iniesta before anointing him the GOAT like some journalists are.

I don't know the what the qualifiers are for choosing the team. You mention Hummels, but I do think Pique and Vidic are the best 2 center backs in the world. So I don't know if they automatically choose 2 corner backs as well or what. Regardless, I don't think Alves is a bad choice. Ramos on the other hand...

I'm a huge Xabi Alonso fan and have no problem with the choice, but is he even the best midfielder on his team (ozil)?


I don't think anyone is anointing him today as the GOAT, but he is certainly on the way, with or without Xavi's help. I actually think all the talk about Xavi and Iniesta actually makes me Messi underrated. Without them, Barca would normally still be the best team in the world - and whichever team those two play for would be great, too - but Barca wouldn't be the best team ever as I think they are.

I also don't think Ronaldo belongs anywhere in this conversation. He's a great player but has regressed in the past few years.

#10 Billy R Ford


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:57 PM

I also don't think Ronaldo belongs anywhere in this conversation. He's a great player but has regressed in the past few years.


?????????

For all the talk about RvP's great 35-goal calendar year, by my count Ronaldo scored 52 in 2011. He's also been much more well-rounded in the new season, his six assists are good for fifth in the league (more assists than Xavi, Iniesta, or Cesc, I might add).

#11 Snakebauer007


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Posted 09 January 2012 - 11:12 PM

I dont think having 9 Barca/Real players shows any balance of power, just a perceived one. Two super teams in a league without competitive balance, except one is clearly better than the other. Real hasn't won the League title in 3 years or the Euroepean Cup in 10 years(before last season when did they even make it past the round of 16?) I don't get their inclusion with Barca players as being the World's best.

#12 Apisith

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:26 AM

?????????

For all the talk about RvP's great 35-goal calendar year, by my count Ronaldo scored 52 in 2011. He's also been much more well-rounded in the new season, his six assists are good for fifth in the league (more assists than Xavi, Iniesta, or Cesc, I might add).


It's his playing style, nowadays. He scores more but his impact is less on the game, if that makes sense. He's on the periphery of big matches. He doesn't drop deep to pick up the ball enough, and when he does, he doesn't use the ball well. He's less of a player now than when he was at Man Utd. Less exciting, less effective on the whole, but just more brutal.

Messi is actually evolving in this direction but when the team needs him, he can drop so deep to pick up the ball and cause absolute chaos.

Ronaldo's actually been getting a lot of shit from Madrid fans because he's become a one-dimensional scorer. He's still amazing, but he's not what they thought they were getting for 80m.

#13 Snakebauer007


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 03:40 AM

Ronaldo love or hate him, is on a very very very short list of top players in the world, it isn't really debateable with reason or facts

#14 Apisith

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:33 AM

I don't doubt that. I just doubt whether he is even glanced at in the GOAT debate, whereas Messi - on his current trajectory - will be the GOAT by a wide margin, regardless of whether he wins the World Cup with Argentina or not.

#15 mikeford


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:05 AM

?????????

For all the talk about RvP's great 35-goal calendar year, by my count Ronaldo scored 52 in 2011. He's also been much more well-rounded in the new season, his six assists are good for fifth in the league (more assists than Xavi, Iniesta, or Cesc, I might add).


Ronaldo actually had 56* goals (all competition, including international) in the calender year 2011 in 54* appearances.
RVP had 48* (again, all competition, including international) in 2011 in 55* appearances.

His 35 in a calender year applies only to Premiership (not Carling Cup, not FA cup, strictly league matches) play. And I think we'd all agree it is much more difficult to score in England than it is in Spain.


* stats from: http://www.soccerbase.com

Edited by mikeford, 10 January 2012 - 05:10 AM.


#16 SoxFanInCali


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:36 AM

And I think we'd all agree it is much more difficult to score in England than it is in Spain.

Total goals scored in the Premier League in 2010-2011: 1,063
Total goals scored in La Liga in 2010-2011: 1,042

Both Barca and Real comfortably outscored any Premier League side, but overall it seems that scoring in the 2 leagues is equally difficult.

#17 Seven Costanza


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 08:15 AM

I'll second the surprise at the exclusion of Gareth Bale.

F'ing Welsh.

#18 Zomp


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:39 AM

I also don't think Ronaldo belongs anywhere in this conversation. He's a great player but has regressed in the past few years.


I don't think there is any question that Cristiano is the 2nd best player in the world. Its funny, I think people underrate him because he is such a prick.

He doesn't take guys on anymore, because there is less space to operate in Spain, but he's turned into the most devastating striker on the planet. 56 goals is ridiculous. I think he's a completely different player than he was at United, and Real Madrid fans should cherish him while he's there...if not I wouldn't mind him back at his old club.

#19 Zomp


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:40 AM

AND he is, without a doubt, the best FIFA 12 player.FACHT.

#20 Seven Costanza


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:11 AM

I don't watch any La Liga- does Ronaldo play as a #10 now? He's no longer on the wing? 56 goals wherever you are on the pitch is goddamn ridiculous.

#21 Zomp


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 10:17 AM

From what I've seen he plays in a free role. Starts out on the left wing and cuts in from there.

#22 Snakebauer007


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 01:33 PM

Hasn't he been playing more on the right with di Maria left?

On RVP I do think it's a lot harder to score playing for Arsenal than for one of the 2 teams in Spain who thrash everyone.

Also why should Gareth Bale be included? His best performances come when playing wing(not fullback) and there's just better players there

#23 filthywater49

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:01 PM

Also why should Gareth Bale be included? His best performances come when playing wing(not fullback) and there's just better players there


I haven't seen Spurs enough to know much about this--I just figured he played similarly to Dani Alves--technically a fullback but spending most of his time in the opponent's half. Am I incorrect?

I dont think having 9 Barca/Real players shows any balance of power, just a perceived one. Two super teams in a league without competitive balance, except one is clearly better than the other. Real hasn't won the League title in 3 years or the Euroepean Cup in 10 years(before last season when did they even make it past the round of 16?) I don't get their inclusion with Barca players as being the World's best.


I'm not implying that the balance of power has shifted to La Liga writ large, What I'm saying is that between them, Barca and Real probably have the highest concentration of top players between any two teams in the world--and I'm emphasizing individual talents because that's what this award is about. Looking at the only other club in the world that compares to them in this regard, how many City players start for either of these sides sans injuries? Kompany for both, and maybe Silva for Real. Maybe I'm forgetting someone, but I don't think so.

All that being said, I think you can still make the argument that Real is the second best team in the world, or at least look to be. But looking at Real's Liga titles since Barca's rise to dominance don't really tell you much about how good they are. Nor does looking at Euro titles in the last ten years, especially since this incarnation of Madrid has only been around for 3 years (last year having advanced to the semis before being knocked out by Barca). I really struggle to think of a second team that is clearly better than Madrid this year. I've been hearing rumblings about Bayern being awesome this year but haven't seen them play a single game so I have no idea. Neither City nor United advanced out of the group stages, Chelsea is inconsistent as hell, and Arsenal is Arsenal. Who else is really better than Madrid? Sure, they haven't won anything yet, but in terms of this year and last, I'm willing to hear the case for another club.

Edit: I agree that the Barca players are a cut above Real's. But I think Real's players are a cut above the vast majority of Europe's top clubs.

Edited by filthywater49, 10 January 2012 - 04:05 PM.


#24 Zomp


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:25 PM

Very rarely has Bale played left back this season. He's been a winger for the past 2 years with Assou Ekoto playing behind him.

#25 Snakebauer007


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

I just don't think they have Proven anything except they are the 2nd best team in Spain. Last year they made the semis and beat Lyon and Tottenham along the way, not that impressive, while the year before was just as disappointing as those previous. To me there is one club everyone is chasing right now and Real is in the pack with the chasers, until they separate themselves.

#26 filthywater49

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:46 PM

For the sake of discussion, who do you think is better than them? Who is even with them? If we accept that yes, they're level with everyone else in terms of not being as good as Barca, can we distinguish "the pack" any further? Who are, in order, the top 5 teams in the world?

Mine are:

1. Barca
2. Madrid
3. Bayern (I think, someone please tell me more about them)
4. City
5. United

#27 Billy R Ford


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 04:54 PM

Ronaldo actually had 56* goals (all competition, including international) in the calender year 2011 in 54* appearances.
RVP had 48* (again, all competition, including international) in 2011 in 55* appearances.

His 35 in a calender year applies only to Premiership (not Carling Cup, not FA cup, strictly league matches) play. And I think we'd all agree it is much more difficult to score in England than it is in Spain.


Ah my mistake, for some reason I thought the 35 total was in all comps too. That's a useful site.

On Ronaldo, I think it's important to remember that he's really the only player Mourinho, the same guy who coached Deco, Lampard, and Sneijder, has ever trusted with a truly free role. No denying he doesn't drop deep (when I look at the positioning diagrams for Madrid's matches, he's usually just as far up as Benzema/Higuain, just a little to the left of them), but I don't really understand that as a criticism- it's just not his game. It'd be like criticizing Xavi for not driving forward to score.

He's evolving as a player for sure, but a lot of his evolution is positive. He's completing 84% of his passes this year, compared to 76% last year. This comes at the sacrifice of only making 1.3 extended dribbles per match, versus 2.2 last year. Considering this doesn't hurt his goal output, while helping greatly increase Benzema's and Higuain's, I'd say overall he's contributing more to Madrid. FTR I got these numbers from www.whoscored.com/

(Side note on his positioning- I'm watching the Copa del Rey right now, and Madrid are playing a 4-3-1-2 with Ronaldo and Higuain as the strikers, which is new for them. They're switching for the 2nd half though, Khedira was injured).

On Real Madrid, I agree with FilthyWater49 (cool new feature for the new board by the way, these new posts are appearing for me to read as I type).This is only Mourinho's second year at the club, and it was in his second year at Porto and Inter when he won the Champions League. The team is significantly better than last year despite having much of the same personel.

#28 mikeford


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Posted 10 January 2012 - 05:39 PM

For the record, I didn't post Ronaldo and RVP's respective stats as a reason to put Ronaldo out of the XI and replace him with RVP... I'd take aim at Rooney's selection in favor of RVP, but to be fair I haven't bothered to do the same goals calculation I did for the other 2 for Rooney yet.

#29 Zomp


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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:58 AM

Rooney's stats will pale in comparison to RVP (or Ronaldo/Messi) because of 2 reasons: 1) his first half slump and more importantly b) his change in position. 2 years ago he mainly lead the line in a 4-3-3 and scored a boat load of goals. Last year when United switched to their 4-4-1-1 or 4-2-3-1 Rooney played in the trequartista role behind Hernandez and did so to devastatingly good effect. More and more he's becoming an attacking midfielder.

I'm not saying he should be there ahead of RVP, truthfully it was probably a coin flip as he did take an underwhelming Man United side to a league title and the Champions League final, but the stats won't tell the whole story.

#30 DLew On Roids


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Posted 11 January 2012 - 01:07 PM

For the sake of discussion, who do you think is better than them? Who is even with them? If we accept that yes, they're level with everyone else in terms of not being as good as Barca, can we distinguish "the pack" any further?

I think that if you had 36-game league comprising Barca, Madrid, Man U, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Napoli, Inter, Milan, and Bayern, that Madrid would likely finish outside the top 3.