We are less than a week away from the crowning of the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner and there is still huge debate as to who should win it. Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery are the three remaining players in contention, and each has a huge claim as to why they should take the title. Realistically, this could be the most highly contested year and I have no idea who is going to be this years winner considering the fact that each player brings something completely different to the table.
Here is our summary breakdown for each player, with some additional commentary on the boots they wore through the 2013 year! Make sure to let us know who you think should win the award and why.
Franck Ribery – Bayern Munich
2012/13 Stats – 43 games, 11 goals, 22 assists
Full 2013 Stats (Club + Country) – 52 games, 22 goals, 18 assists
Why He Will Win – In many circles, Ribery is seen to be the dark horse of the three nominees yet he had the most successful season of the three. Not only did he help guide Bayern Munich to a historic German treble in 2013, but he also went on to win the European Supercup and helped France scrape through qualification for next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
Why He Won’t Win – The fact that Messi and Ronaldo continually take the international spotlight when it comes to the Worlds best player only hinders Ribery’s chances. Yes, he was fantastic but too often players in Ribery’s position are outshine by the top goalscorers.
Boot Recap: Ribery has consistently been a Nike Vapor wearer and through 2013 he wore several different colorways in the range. Early in the year, he kicked things off in the Neptune Blue version before switching to the Volt/Bright Citrus prior to the summer and into the current season. When they were released in November, he started wearing the Electro Purple Hi-Vis version, which he wore till the end of the year. Kicking off 2014, he switched to the latest Neo Lime colorway and has also been spotted training in an advanced prototype blackout boot over the past few days.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
2012/13 Stats– 55 games, 55 goals, 12 assists
Full 2013 Stats (Club + Country) – 56 games, 66 goals, 15 assists
Why He Will Win – Although it turned out to be a fruitless season trophy wise for Ronaldo, the Portugal star had one of his greatest individual seasons as he was unstoppable in front of goal. He was also a key figure in Portugal’s qualification for next summers World Cup, capping things off with a devestating play-off hattrick versus Sweden.
Why He Won’t Win – His team didn’t win anything, it is that simple. Even though the Ballon d’Or is an individual title, many look at club success as a guide to how much a player has achieved.
Boot Recap: Everything Vapor seems to revolve around CR and Nike has consistently decked him out in his own custom releases through his career. 2013 brought a new level of CR custom designs and he sported 5 different colorways through the year.
It all kicked off with the limited edition CR7 Mercurial IX. They only got 2 games before he switched to the original Fireberry release. March brought the release of the second Vapor IX custom design, and this one was rainbow colorful! The White/Neon Orange/Neon Yellow colorway came as part of the CR Summer ’13 collection. Into Reals summer tour to the US, he wore the Volt/Bright Citrus colorway and continued sporting them into the current season. In October, he switched to the Vapor IX Supernova and those are the boots he wore through the end of the year.
Lionel Messi – FC Barcelona
2012/13 Stats – 50 games, 60 goals, 16 assists
Full 2013 Stats (Club + Country) – 45 games, 42 goals, 15 assists
Why He Will Win – When you are Lionel Messi, you are expected to be spectacular every time you play. And the four time reigning champion was again in 2013! On the club front, he helped the Catalan giants win the La Liga title and Supercup. Argentina also qualified comfortably for the Brazil ’14.
Why He Won’t Win – Unfortunately for Messi, he has missed a lot of time late in the year due to injury and that gives voters an excuse to look elsewhere. Even though he is the Worlds best player, when you miss an extended time people tend to shift their focus on other players.
Boot Recap: When we think of the F50 adiZero, the first player that comes to mind is undoubtedly Lionel Messi. He has been front and center for the boot since the silo hit the market several seasons ago and we were treated to some custom Messi designs in 2013.
Messi kicked off the year in the then newly released Vivid Yellow F50 adiZero before hitting up a pair of ubberly funky Ballon d’Or boots in mid January. He wore them for one game before retiring them (thankfully!) From there, he moved onto the custom “Play the Messi Way” in February. Fans swooned over the awesome adiZero look and Messi played pretty impressively in them. In July, we were introduced to the “Speed of Light” adiZero and they were the final boots we saw Messi wear in 2013, his season was ended by an injury in November.
The Ballon d’Or Gala event takes place this Monday, January 13th and we will be tuned in, glued to our sets, watching to see who is named best of the best for 2013. As well as the men’s version, there is also a hotly contested women’s version. Nadine Angerer, Marta and Abby Wambach are the three ladies up for nomination this year.[poll id=”49″]