13
Jan

The oddest ballots cast for 2013 Ballon d’Or

image

Arguably more exciting than the actual announcement of the FIFA Ballon d’Or winner is the immediate release of the full voting results. Because every year, some of the ballots cast by the national team coaches, captains, and media members are downright laughable, like they don’t even know their votes are made public.

This year turned out to be one of the closest races ever. Cristiano Ronaldo (1,365 points) edged out Lionel Messi (1,205) and Franck Ribery (1,127), as all three were separated by less than 250 points, the equivalent of 50 first-place votes. The voting could have been even closer, too, were it not for some ridiculous ballots among the 541 voters.

Without further ado, here are the most bizarre findings:

  • Of course, the finalists who had a vote chose not to pick their rivals. Ronaldo’s votes: Radamel Falcao, Gareth Bale, Mesut Ozil.
  • Messi’s votes: Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Neymar. Hmmm, wonder why?
  • Georgia captain Jaba Kankava has not heard of Messi, Ronaldo or Ribery. His top three were: Iniesta, Andrea Pirlo, Edinson Cavani.
  • Ethiopia captain Degu Debebe Gebreyes’ choices: Xavi, Pirlo, Thomas Muller. Also interesting.
  • Yaya Toure received three nods for Player of the Year, from Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba and Mauritania captain Dominique Da Silva.
  • Bhutan has a lot of love for the Germans. Team captain Passang voted Mesut Ozil for Player of the Year, while coach Dorji Khandu voted for Thomas Muller.
  • Where’s the D? China coach Fu Bo and Madagascar captain Tahina Randrianarisoa voted for Thiago Silva. Mozambique captain Ivan Dario and Israel coach Eli Gutman for Philipp Lahm.
  • No bias at all: Italy’s Gigi Buffon and Claudio Prandelli both voted for Andrea Pirlo. San Marino captain Andy Selva did, too.
  • Must be the money! New Zealand coach Ricky Herbert picked Gareth Bale as his Ballon d’Or winner.
  • Media member Geniy Tulegenov of Kazakhstan liked two Bayern teammates ahead of Ribery, who he voted third: Arjen Robben (1st) and Thomas Muller (2nd).

If you think we missed some, you can look over the full list of votes here.

Photo provided by Action Images.

13
Jan

Congratulations, Cristiano Ronaldo!

10
Jan

This is what people were saying about Messi eight years ago

image

Believe it or not, there was a time when not everyone was singing Lionel Messi’s praises.

As Messi began his rise as a football super star, he wasn’t known well outside of Spain and Argentina. This would soon change as the youngster broke into Barcelona’s starting XI in 2006.

But before he became a global name, footy nerds started to notice his talent while playing the ever-popular video game Football Manager. The initial reviews of his digital skills in online forums from those who bought him were certainly mixed:

"To be honest I don’t rate him at all."

"He is absolutely fantastic on my game, wonderkid."

"Both times he’s played sh*te, nowhere as good as his stats suggest."

"He is already one of the best players in real life, so I can’t wait to see how good he gets as he gets older."

"Doesn’t look anything special, but I’ve added him to my shortlist."

It was late 2005 and early 2006; Messi was only a figure in their game. Most hadn’t seen him play in real life, but one seemingly savant-like user had this to say:

"I wouldn’t be surprised if he got World Player of the Year in a few years time."

Not a bad prediction, was it?

(H/T r/soccer)

Image courtesy of Getty

29
Nov

Zlatan: I don’t need trophy to know I’m the best

Ever the model of modesty, Paris Saint-Germain talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued his unrivaled track record of humility after PSG’s  2-1 win against Olympiakos.

It’s trophy season, and despite his awesomeness, Ibra isn’t expected to be a finalist for the Ballon d’Or. But that doesn’t matter to Zlatan, as seen in the video above.

Zlatan even managed to get a bit of a rib in on his contemporaries, saying:

No, it’s nothing that I think about. It seems very important for other players, but for me it’s not important. I know what I feel about myself and I know what I think about myself. … I don’t need a trophy to tell myself that I’m the best.

Boom! Another day, another slice of humble pie served up by Zlatan. You’ve got to love him.

(h/t 101GG)

20
Nov

Lionel Messi continues trend of questionable fashion decisions

image

Oh, Lionel Messi. It’s possible we at the FOX Soccer Blog just aren’t fashion-forward enough to understand what’s going on here. Or, perhaps whatever deity blessed you with the uncanny ability with a football neglected your sense of fashion.

Not a bad trade, in our opinion, but this latest ensemble has us wavering. Messi received his 2013 Golden Boot award on Tuesday, donning a jacket that looked more like it belonged on a washed-up rock star than a transcendent soccer god.

image

Now, we’re all prone to the occasional fashion disaster, but Messi seems to have made a habit of iffy choices. For example:

image

Messi rocked this polka-dot number earlier this year to the Ballon d’Or presentation.

image

A year prior, Messi opted to go with a softer look … ensconcing himself in velvet.

But it’s not all bad for the Argentine wonder. He got it right in 2011 when collecting the second of his many Ballon d’Or trophies.

image

Not too shabby, Leo. There’s still some hope.

(Images provided by Getty)

21
Mar

Ronaldo receives his 2nd Ballon d’O….oh wait it’s just a cake

image

Still mad about losing a fourth straight Ballon d’Or?

Cristiano Ronaldo was presented with a custom-made Ballon d’Or cake at the Portuguese national team’s training facility in Obidos, a sweet reminder that he’s still Number 1in the hearts of Portuguese bakers everywhere.

No news yet on whether or not Lionel Messi has broken into the facility and stepped on the cake.

9
Jan

Needless to say, Cristiano Ronaldo had a rough night at FIFA’s Ballon d’or gala on Monday night.

Not only did CR7 miss out on the prized FIFA award, but it looks like the Portuguese foward received a second snub of sorts after ex-Barcelona manager Josep Guardiola refused to shake his hand.

Poor, poor Ronaldo.

23
Dec

With FIFA’s Ballon D’or 2012 award ceremony only a few weeks away, we take a look back at the only goalkeeper to to hold the award: Lev Yashin.

Yashin played for Dynamo Moscow from 1950-1970, with a total of 326 appearances and 1 goal to his credit. Nicknamed the “Black Spider,” Yashin also made 78 international appearances for the Soviet Union. The ex- Dynamo Moscow keeper also holds the honor of being voted the best goalkeeper of the 20th century by the IFFHS.

Sit back and watch as we honor one of the all-time greats in world football.