No Respect: Van Persie Not Considered for Ballon d’Or
Every weekend my head shakes more furiously than the one before as I contemplate how FIFA could ignore the outstanding accomplishments of Robin Van Persie. As I am a huge Gunners fan I will acknowledge a bias, however in this case I think most of you will agree with my frustration when you get up to date on some facts.
FIFA narrowed its search for this year’s recipient of the Ballon D’or award recognizing the world’s best player to 25 players in November, and recently down to the top three: Xavi and Messi (Barca) and Ronaldo (Real Madrid). Startlingly, Van Persie was not even amongst the 25 candidates despite sizzling for Arsenal all year.
Only Ronaldo has netted a better goal:game ratio than the Dutchman’s 1.04 goals/game. Not even Messi has better than a goal per game. Also, consider that Persie is playing for a decimated Arsenal team that suffered the exits of his two set-up men, Fabregas (to Barcelona) and Nasri (to Manchester City). Compare his supporting cast to that of the Barcelona and Real Madrid players – I wouldn’t mind letting Xavi, Fabregas and Iniesta passing me the ball! How about you? Not to take anything away from the Gunners’ mids, but they just aren’t in the same category as the three mentioned. Further, really compare the EPL and Liga beyond the top two teams. After you take away Barca and Madrid, what competition are you left with? Let’s subtract Manchester United and Chelsea from the EPL and you still have Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle. Even compare Liga to other leagues like Serie A and Bundesliga. I would argue that both are deeper in talent as well, just maybe not in the top two.
I am going to stop myself because my intent is/was not to compare Robin Van Persie to Messi, or even Ronaldo, and certainly was not to get in a “Which league is the best” debate. Whether RvP is better than either is open to debate and only time will tell. I can tell you that any player who can sustain a better than one goal per game ratio for an entire year is joining ELITE company. I think that alone should have propelled Persie into the top 25 at least.
Sit back and watch Van Persie break the record for the best goalscoring calendar year in modern Premier League history – breaking records held by Alan Shearer and Arsenal legend, Thierry Henry.
…and that is the last word.