FIFA and the French government* has released the list of the 23 players chosen as candidates for the 2013 Ballon d’Or (French for “balloon door,” I believe) award. Below is how I’d rank the candidates on the list and, hence, how I’d vote. Had I vote to cast. Naturally, I don’t. But here’s how my faux (French for “awesome,” I believe) list would look regardless.
23. Eden Hazard (Belgium)
22. Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
21. Thiago Silva (Brazil)
20. Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)
19. Neymar (Brazil)
18. Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
17. Xavi (Spain)
16. Mesut Ozil (Germany)
15. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)
14. Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
13. Manuel Neuer (Germany)
12. Philipp Lahm (Germany)
11. Andres Iniesta (Spain)
10. Robin van Persie (Netherlands)
9. Gareth Bale (Wales)
8. Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
7. Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
6. Franck Ribery (France)
5. Thomas Muller (Germany)
4. Radamel Falcao (Colombia)
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina)
1. Zlatan Ibrahimovc (Sweden)
Before you cry foul at my rankings, remember that there really are no criteria for the voting. It’s simply a gut feeling as to who’s the top — or even top-top-top-top — player on the planet within a given year.
So throw your stats and your cups out the window and just go with your heart. In fact, if you’d like to make a balloon door pick yourself, just answer these three simple questions:
1. During the 2013 calendar year, did [Player X] stir strange, awkward feelings within your very innards?
2. Would you be embarrassed to walk into a soccer bar at this very moment and yell, “[Player X] is definitively, without a doubt, the top player on the planet right now! Forza [Player X]!”
3. Would you then have a pint glass whipped at your head for making such a statement?
If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second two, then that should basically be enough to justify your selection.
Meaning I have less than no problem telling you that if the powers that be don’t give Zlatan this year’s balloon door, it will be a grave injustice against all of football — hence, humanity — and I’ll be hella miffed.
(* – The French government wasn’t really involved in this year’s voting. Not so sure about the German government, though.)