Ronaldo, Neuer and Robben deserve to be Ballon d’Or top three & Messi should miss out

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After Fifa revealed their 23-man shortlist for the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or, Goal’s editors around the world voted on which three stars should finish on the podium

On Tuesday, Fifa named their 23-man shortlist for the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or and, as always, the announcement caused something of a stir.

The omission of Luis Suarez and Xabi Alonso led to huge criticism, as did the inclusions of Andres Iniesta and Eden Hazard among others.

As the dust settles, the focus will now turn to who deserves to finish on the podium. On December 1, Fifa will announce the three players who the following month will attend the Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich as contenders for the prize.

Goal decided to kick off the debate by asking its editors around the world to vote on who they think should make up the top three.

Unsurprisingly, last year’s winner and the red-hot favourite for 2014, Cristiano Ronaldo won the most support. He received 24 votes out of a possible 25, with 14 editors believing he should win the prize.

Goal Spain’s Ander Bilbao, UK’s Sam Lyon, Bosnia and Croatia’s Ante Buskulic, Italy’s Sergio Chesi, Ireland’s Peter Staunton, South Korea’s Yongun Lee, Singapore’s Khid Kassim, Kenya’s Dennis Makuba, Nigeria’s Lolade Adewuji, Tanzania’s Nicholous John, India’s Rahul Bali, USA’s Allen Ramsey, and Carlo Garganese and Paul Macdonald of Goal International all picked the 29-year-old for the ultimate honour.

Only Goal France’s Chief Editor, Johann Crochet, failed to nominate the Portuguese superstar at all.
Manuel Neuer was the next most popular choice as he earned 13 votes with Kent Mensah of Goal Ghana, Erhun Geyisi of Goal Turkey, Teppei Tekano of Goal Japan and Johann Crochet selecting the Bayern and Germany goalkeeper as their winner.

Completing the podium places is Arjen Robben. The flying Dutchman picked up 11 votes in total, with Netherlands Chief Editor Yanick Vos, Brazil’s Luiz Moura, Indonesia’s Agung Harsya and South Africa’s Ignat Manjoo selecting the Bayern star as their first choice.

Lionel Messi has not finished outside the top three of the Ballon d’Or for eight years, but he would do in 2014 if Goal’s editors were the judges. The Barcelona hero still managed to pick up eight votes, but none of our journalists believed he deserved first place. In fact, only one – Paul Macdonald – voted for Messi in second position. The other seven all had the Argentine down for the bronze medal.

Thomas Muller also received eight votes. Unlike Messi, though, he was nominated for the top prize by one editor – Fernando Duclos of Goal Argentina. Muller’s team-mate Philipp Lahm was chosen for gold by two chiefs – Germany’s Christian Nier and Thailand’s Thana Wongamee – although he picked up just three votes in total.

The other players to receive votes were Diego Costa (2), Angel Di Maria (2), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2), Thibaut Courtois (1) and Toni Kroos (1).

The following stars on Fifa’s shortlist failed to pick up a single vote from Goal’s editors; Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Mario Gotze, Eden Hazard, Andres Iniesta, Javier Mascherano, Neymar, Paul Pogba, Sergio Ramos, James Rodriguez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Yaya Toure.

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