Barcelona forward Neymar was named in the final three for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award following a fantastic year with the Catalans that saw him win the treble (La Liga, Champions League, Copa Del Rey) under manager Luis Enrique. The Brazilian international, 23, has picked up where he left off, and has been in blistering form for Barca.
Neymar leads the scoring charts with 14 goals in 12 games in the Spanish La Liga, and is one of the most in-form players in Europe. His selection is more than deserved, and not to make up the numbers. The argument for the former Santos man to collect the crown is valid, but he has stiff competition in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and teammate Lionel Messi (Barcelona).
It’s the first time Neymar has made the final shortlist, but certainly won’t be his last given his rise at such a young age. When Messi as injured for Barcelona, he stepped up to the plate and was scoring a goal a game for the large part. He’s dazzled supporters with his tricky and brilliant vision, and looks a perfect fit at the Nou Camp. While not the best start after his move from Santos, the young forward has since become a key player.
He paid tribute to his strike-partners Messi and Luis Suarez for their role in the trio netting 122 goals in all competitions last season, but also believes he deserves to make the final. The Brazilian said: “I think I do deserve to be (among the finalists) for what I’m doing. I would be happy if the trident (Neymar, Messi and Suarez) was among the three. Thanks to the history we are making and because of what we have conquered, all three should be there.”
Neymar’s selection is more than deserving, but there was a case for Suarez to edge in front of Ronaldo given his individual exploits in the Champions League. The vote should be incredibly close this time round, and Neymar stands a chance of making the top-two. His form this season certainly pits him above Messi and Ronaldo, and his goals in 2015/16 see him leading the way in the Spanish La Liga.
The winner will be announced in mid-January, but Neymar could well be a debutant winner based on what he’s shown supporters so far in 2015. For club and country he continues to improve, and it wouldn’t be such a surprise to see him swoop the gong early next year.