Why Cristiano Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d’Or?




The 2011-12 season saw Real Madrid topple Barcelona FC from the pinnacle of La Liga by a record points tally and some dominating performances. That they were lead upfront by the world’s most expensive footballer, one of the most complete players in today’s game, Cristiano Ronaldo, is a well known fact. Also over the summer, Ronaldo’s powerhouse performances in leading Portugal to the semis of the EURO 2012, only to be knocked out in penalties by eventual winners Spain, would only add considerable value to his candidature for the World’s Best Player award. What went wrong really?

Why Cristiano Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d'Or?

Why Cristiano Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d’Or?

Ever since Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, he has been omnipresent in almost all of Real’s fixtures, and has only improved from what he was when he left Manchester United, his goal tally for Real standing at 174 goals from 172 appearances over 3 and a half seasons (statistics standing as of 15’th January 2013). And the promise of him going head-to-head with his contemporary rival, Lionel Messi, only added flavour to the brew, having football fans smacking in delight.

Ronaldo’s first season at Madrid was a trophy-less one, although he was prolific in getting the goals, dazzling the fans with his style and most of all, showing a sense of maturity that has been missing in him during his time at United. The lack of trophies was held against him in the comparison with his arch-rival Messi, with Messi and Barcelona on a rampage under their coach Pep Guardiola. With Ronaldo slowly and steadily matching with Messi’s pace with a relatively weaker team behind him, the titles started coming in. Starting with the Copa del Rey in 2010-11 and the subsequent league title that saw the likes of Ronaldo, Ozil, Alonso, Ramos vanquish their counterparts Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and Pique and win the La Liga. But this time, fate had something else in store for him.

Messi’s phenomenal scoring rate over the entire year of 2012, that saw him score a record 91 goals in a single calendar year, beating Gerd ‘Der Bomber’ Muller’s record of 85 goals that had stood for 36 long years. Although Barcelona claimed only the Copa del Rey in the 2011-12 season, the sheer brilliance of their star player simply couldn’t be overlooked.

The manner in which Messi is worshipped at Barcelona is no secret. With an effervescent fan base to back the team no matter what befalls the team and every player trained to work around him, it is no surprise as to why Messi is a huge hit at Camp Nou and to an extent, in his national team as well. Ronaldo, on the other hand, has been having a tumulous time in Real Madrid. With established players like Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos in the squad and the continual influx on Portuguese players by manager Jose Mourinho (Fabio Coentrao, Pepe, Ricardo Carvalho etc) contributing to a difference of opinion, the club has never stood as one on and off pitch since Mourinho took over the reins. With a counter-attacking philosophy being inculcated in order to suit Ronaldo’s game, the lack of cohesion among players has reflected in the inconsistent performances of the team. Although Ronaldo is a fan favourite, the kind of backing he gets at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is never that which is expected for a player who wears his heart on his sleeves for the club he plays. Conceived to be very arrogant, brash and a show-boater, Ronaldo loses out on earning the fans’ love entirely only because of his always-for-the-win attitude. When asked about it in a recent interview, Ronaldo was quoted to have said “I simply hate to lose”. This is evident when he is on the pitch, taking the ball along his long gallops, looking for chances to score or create them and best of all, taking aim from a sweet free-kick spot. The general misconception about Ronaldo’s arrogance should be cleared as he is only a player who asks for what he is worth-in terms of money, fame, fanfare and applause.

With the club openly backing captain Iker Casillas for the Ballon d’Or as he was a mainstay in the club’s success last season, as well as in leading his country to the EURO triumph, Ronaldo would have only felt dejected and lost. Which explains his outburst as to being ‘unhappy’ at Real Madrid back in September 2012. This eventually was subsided, but then the result was only Messi grabbing his 4th consecutive Ballon d’Or, with all eyes on Ronaldo watching, trying hard not to pull a long face.

One only can imagine – What if Ronalo had just the backing from club, team and fans alike. Fireworks, goals and glory is the only thing that come to my mind.

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