Wayne Rooney and Luis Nani have been nominated for FIFA’s prestigious Ballon d’Or award, whilst Sir Alex Ferguson has been shortlisted for the manager of year award. Cristiano Ronaldo was the last Manchester United (and English based player) to win the award back in 2008, following is incredible 42 goal season where United won the Premier League and European Cup. Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law are the other three Manchester United players to have won the award. In recent years, Barcelona – and Lionel Messi – have dominated the voting. So, can you see Rooney or Nani picking the 2011 trophy up?
In a sense, no, Lionel Messi is surely – yet again – the recipient of an award that acknowledges the superb achievements of a player over the past twelve months. In the grand scheme of things, personal awards really do not matter at all – having said that, the list of great players from Di Stefano to Franz Beckenbauer to Kaka have been a joy to watch for all of those lucky enough to have seen them play. We are very lucky to have such great talents in Nani and Rooney in our squad and I think that the inclusion of both players is justified following their performances since January, although Nani’s late 2010 performances may well still be fresh in the mind of some.
Just for the record, three other United players (who haven’t won the award) have come in the top three over the years in voting; David Beckham – who came 2nd – in 1999 (who lost out to Rivaldo), Eric Cantona – who came 3rd – in 1993 (lost out to Bergkamp and Baggio) and Duncan Edwards – who came joint 3rd in 1957 (behind Billy Wright and Alfredo Di Stefano). Surely Duncan Edwards would have been the first United player to have picked up the award had he not lost his life in the Munich air disaster.
So, who do you think will pick up the award? But more importantly, do you care? Below is a full list of the nominations:
Player nominees: Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).
Coach nominees: Vicente Del Bosque (Spain/Spain national team), Alex Ferguson (Scotland/Manchester United FC), Rudi Garcia (France/Lille OSC), Pep Guardiola (Spain/FC Barcelona), Jurgen Klopp (Germany/Borussia Dortmund), Joachim Low (Germany/Germany national team), Jose Mourinho (Portugal/Real Madrid), Oscar Tabarez (Uruguay/Uruguay national team), Andre Villas-Boas (Portugal/FC Porto, Chelsea), Arsene Wenger (France/Arsenal).