Messi to lose Ballon d’Or as Heynckes lines up for Coach of the Year
Lionel Messi’s run of injuries could see him finally lose the Ballon d’Or title. Messi recently confirmed that he won’t be able to play for the rest of the year. The Argentinean hit-man claims his recent injuries have taken a toll on him. With five injuries in six months, Messi will certainly need to rest a couple of months before returning to action.
Xavi Hernandez, Barcelona teammate of Messi, believes the four-time Ballon d’Or winner will not be able to defend his title this year. Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, who led his side to Champions League glory, appears to be hot-favorite for the title. Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has made things more interesting with a plethora of late goals for club and country.
Xavi has been named on the 23-man list for the Ballon d’Or award as well. The Spanish attacking midfielder is also expected to be short-listed in the five-man list which will be published in December. Xavi insists Messi is still the best player in the world, despite his “bad luck” with injuries.
“[Messi] has already won four in a row,” Xavi said. “Maybe those who vote will think about that. Maybe he deserves another. If we look at who is the best player in the world, it is Messi, no doubt. Now, if we talk about the best player in 2013, then I will admit there is some debate. Winning four in a row might damage him when it comes to the voting.”
Former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes is hot-favorite to win the FIFA Coach of the Year award for his astounding achievements last season. Heynckes is in the lead, but he is being followed by Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United, Juergen Klopp of Borussia Dortmund, Antonio Conte of Juventus, Rafael Benitez of Napoli, Luiz Felipe Scolari of Brazil and Vicente del Bosque of Spain.
Del Bosque, who won the award last year, told COPE radio that he voted for Heynckes. The Spaniard added that his other votes went to Benitez and Scolari.
“I voted for Heynckes, for Rafa Benitez because he is Spanish and the Europa League champion, and Scolari, who won the Confederations Cup,” Del Bosque said. “I base it on trophies, which is the most objective.”
From the 23-man list Del Bosque didn’t reveal the identity of the three players he had voted for, although Xavi and Andres Iniesta are expected to be the ones in favor since the Spanish boss admitted he voted for two Spanish players.
“I voted for the two Spanish players, and will leave the third as incognito,” Del Bosque added.