FIFA Announce 23-Man Ballon d’Or Shortlist: Surprise/Ridiculous Nods For Mario Balotelli And Gerard Pique

Chris Wright

29th, October 2012


By Chris Wright

FIFA have taken it upon themselves to announce their 23-man long shortlist/short longlist of nominations for this year’s Ballon d’Or prize.

Here it be (in alphabetical order) as put out by award originators and overseers France Football…

Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Man City)
Mario Balotelli (Italy, Man City)
Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid)
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus)
Sergio Busquets (Spain, Barcelona)
Iker Casillas (Spain, Real Madrid)
Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast, Chelsea/Shanghai Shenhua)
Radamel Falcao (Colombia, Atletico Madrid)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Milan/PSG)
Andrés Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona)
Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)
Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich)
Neymar (Brazil, Santos)
Mesut Özil (Germany, Real Madrid)
Gerard Pique (Spain, Barcelona)
Andrea Pirlo (Italy, Juventus)
Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal Real Madrid)
Wayne Rooney (England, Man Utd)
Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Man City)
Robin van Persie (Holland, Arsenal/Man Utd)
Xabi Alonso (Spain, Real Madrid)
Xavi (Spain, Barcelona)

The long/shortlist will be further whittled down to just three names (the short shortlist) at the tail end of November, with the winner being announced at FIFA’s annual jolly in Zurich on January 7th of next year.

Few iffy names up there. Balotelli’s been much of a muchness and is probably included solely for his goal/celebration against Germany at Euro 2012.

As for Pique, really? We’re struggling to think of one good reason why the Shakira-inseminator warrants a place on the list seeing as he’s played about half-an-hour’s football for Barca this year – unless successfully inseminating Shakira actually counts of course.

Not that it matters any road up, because we’re basically looking at a two-way coin flip between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo again. Anyone out there think otherwise?

Who would you’re outside bet for the 2012 Ballon d’Or be? We’re tempted by a flutter on Falcao, but we’ll wait until the end of November before we slap our balls on the table.

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  1. MJ says:

    pirlo should really complete the short shortlist

  2. Mike says:

    Outside of Messi and Ronaldo, the only options I can see are Pirlo and Falcao. As for Pique… Maybe they have a Barcelona quota to fill?

  3. JONSTER says:

    Rooney??? wtf! How did he sneak on there?

  4. Murray says:

    You think Balotelli got on the list for a goal celebration.

    You forgetting the TWO GOALS he scored in that same game were responsible for Italy getting to the Euro 2012 Final in the first place?

    Balotelli’s inclusion on the list just seems weird because that’s the ONLY significantly positive presence he had on a pitch all year.

  5. SUSHRUT says:

    Petr CEch

  6. iko says:

    @Mike, agreed.
    Possibly van Persie too. He’s taken his form with him to Man U. I’d say that merits a spot on the list.

  7. Si says:

    Iniesta could be a good shout, as could Casillas. Both have now won three consecutive international trophies and are widely acknowledged as being the best in their respective positions (more so than Ramos).

    But I hope that Messi wins again, just to see the “someone has just shat in my gob” expression on Ronaldo’s face.

  8. Nuno says:

    Pique played every minute of Spain’s Euro 2012 games, that’s the only reason I can see for him being there, but every year we all see it’s more about the reputation than actually how well they played.
    To me the top 3 should be among Ronaldo, Messi and Falcao. On the other hand, Spain did win the Euro, so they probably might get someone in the top3.
    As you say, the winner will be a coin flip between Messi and Ronaldo. Ronaldo did one or two good games at the Euro, but not much against Spain in the semis. On the other hand, if Messi wins it again, it’ll be 4-1 Messi. Might be a bit too much given there’s not that much difference between the two.

  9. Nuno says:

    Oh, and yes, Pirlo also deserving of a top3 spot (for what he did both in Juventus and for Italy in the Euro).

  10. jen says:

    I’d love to see balotelli wins just for lulz

  11. usrick says:

    Twelve of 23 finalists playing in Spain, 5 (or 5.5 if you count Drogba as a half) in EPL and only 6 (or 5.5) in the rest of the world combined. Even though the two best teams in the world play in Spain and the EPL is probably the world’s toughest division top to bottom,I can’t help but wonder if some of the choices (Balotelli and Pique included) might be included for reasons other than performance.

  12. Alexis says:

    Honestly i think Casillas deserves a nod, if not Pirlo.

  13. Mr Sensible says:

    I guess it’s whether you look at what the player did for the team and what they achieved or just purely on what the player did irrelevant of what it resulted in for the team.

    Messi scored more than Ronaldo but I would say Ronaldo had a greater contribution with Real winning La Liga. Ronaldo was also pretty good at the Euros.

    I’m guessing this award is for the calendar year not the season just gone, anyone got actual goals & game stats for these 2 for 2012 (even though we’ve still got 2 months left).

    Maybe give it to Ronaldo this year, just to keep him happy (but we all secretly know Messi is better).

  14. Swampdragon says:

    How does Pique make it and Vincent Kompany doesn’t? Van Persie should be the 3rd finalist.

  15. kurt says:

    I don’t understand why Pique was added either.
    I would like to see Neuer next to C.Ronaldo and Messi. He reached the CL final with Bayern, came in second in the BL and the German Cup and performed well with the German National Team.
    And it would be nice to see some sort of respect for a keeper once in a while.

  16. Eckpfosten says:

    Falcao would be my guess (wish) too.

  17. Stiopa says:

    Drogba/Casillas for CL and Euro’s/

  18. asibor austin says:

    messi al d way, bt rooney makin d 3rd won’t b bad at al. Bt 4 rude belatoli nd romantic pique(pig) ar meant 4 no short list in 1st 500 shortlist. Fifa wakeup plz……….

  19. Alex says:

    No Philipp Lahm is criminal. He’s arguably the most consistent defender in the world, both defending and getting forward for years. He deserves a place on anyone’s world XI and definitely on this list ahead of Balotelli and Pique.

  20. yr says:

    How does Pique make it and Pepe doesn’t!? Played a great EC!

  21. mia says:

    I’d love to see balotelli wins, just for the lulz it will create.

  22. KingB3113 says:

    It’s really annoying how any half decent Barca/Madrid player will get an automitic nomination. This La Liga favouritism is out of hand, why only one Bundesliga player?

    Besides that I’m really surprised that they’ve finally recognised Yaya Toure’s work and for some reason I was half expecting them to snub Rooney despite his 26 league goals last season, glad they’ve done some justice to the EPL. (Although Aguero and Balotelli should not be on this list, I think Kompany and Mario Gomez were hard done by)

  23. Otwin says:

    Where’s Lewandowski?

  24. UpTheSaints says:

    Rickie Lambert should win it

  25. dc says:

    It might not be “fair” but it’s got to be Messi again by a long shot. He broke multiple scoring records, is on course to break more by the end of 2012 (passing Pele and Muller) and has a hefty assist column to boot. Barcelona may not have won much, but he’s still head and shoulders above even Ronaldo.

    Messi scored and assisted a total of 101 goals for his club in the 2011/2012 season. Ronaldo scored/created an impressive 75, but he’s still way behind the lil guy, even when adding in country performance.

  26. Miguel - NYC says:

    I hope people realize that the voting for the Ballon D’Or has changed significantly since it merged (Messi won it twice). So, to speak about favoritism from national team captains, national team coaches and a select group of reporters around the world is a little off topic. Maybe there are leagues that have more media coverage hence it is on the radar of many more people.
    Take just 2 players from la liga voting: Casillas and Messi.
    Casillas voted for Ramos (5- club/country), Cristiano (3 – club), and Xavi (1 country) – Messi voted for Xavi (5 – club) Iniesta (3 – club) and Kun (1 – country).
    They both play for La Liga and only Xavi was the common player there.
    What EPL fans still don’t seem to grasp is that their league is full of fluff. Sure, only Barca and Madrid have won in spain in the past 8 years, but Athletic Bilbao kicked Man U’s ass in the Europa league and Man City didn’t make past the group stages either (same this year?). Chelsea won the CL playing the way they did, but maybe that’s why none of their players will win this award. Also, Taking Rooney out (though he has a very good supporting cast), most of the best players from the EPL are not from England.
    Pique has won everything in the past 4 years…World cup, Euro cup, CL (2), Leagues (3), Club world cup (2)…Not one player not from Spain playing in the EPL can boast the same resume. Torres and Mata barely played in this past Euro and the World cup. Silva, somehow missing from this list was actually a starter in both the World cup and the Euros.
    Again, take off your EPL glasses and take a look at the list again.
    Oh, and Messi is the best player right now and possibly ever. For those who want to compare CR7 to him, if you take a look at the statistics Messi is ahead in everything. Now, if you watch a few complete games, you will realize that Messi’s stats don’t do justice to how good of a player he is. He is not competing with CR7 or any other current player, he is competing with history.
    And for those who talk about fair…are you freaking kidding me? Is this an award based on merit or about who can complain the most to the media about the award. Fair would have been for Maradona (Pele, Di Stefano, Garrincha) to have won a few Ballon d’Or during his playing career. Fair would have been for Van Basten to keep on playing and not having to stop at 29 because the Italian league was so brutal that it kicked the shit out of a player until he had to retired.

  27. steve says:

    Mata, sensational season last year, CL winner, Member of Spanish euro side, scoring in the final and off to a blinder of a season this year.

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