Hot Debate: Who Wins the UEFA European Best Player of the Year
DEBATE: WHO WINS UEFA EUROPEAN BEST PLAYER OF THE YEAR?
On the 30th of August, 2012, the UEFA best player for 2011/2012 will be announced. The finalists are Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona duo, Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta. Three analysts will make a case for each player: Achere Buxton (Andres Iniesta), Emmanuel Ekow Firmer Ampiah (Cristiano Ronaldo) and Emil Alcantara Alexis (Lionel Messi).
WHY ANDRES INIESTA SHOULD WIN THE AWARD by ACHERE BUXTON
Andrés Iniesta Luján is an attacking midfielder for FC Barcelona and La Roja, the Spanish national team. Born 11 May 1984, he joined Barca at the age of 12 in 1996 after he was scouted at a Brunette tournament playing for Albacete.He is a product of La Masia, the Barcelona youth academy. In 2002, at the age of 18 he made his first debut for FC Barcelona and started playing regularly in the 2004/5 season and made his national team debut in 2006 after playing the Under-16, U-19 and U-21 teams.
This shy and pale midfielder has become the benchmark for any modern midfielder. As playmaker, he is able to cut and tear any defence into bits with his exquisite passes even through the tightest of defences. He is able to hold spectators and even his opponents spell bound with the skilful soccer he plays and the flair he plays it with. Even though he started as a defensive midfielder, he has grown to be able to play any role on the pitch being it attacking midfield, false winger, central midfielder, and a defensive midfielder.
Only a few players have excelled for both club and country, some being Maradona and Zinedine Zidane. Iniesta’s performance for both his club and country are beyond wonderful, having won every available trophy in his sphere. A lot of people may attribute the success of Barcelona to Lionel Messi, but those who really understand the logic of soccer know that Iniesta is the magician who strings all the passes together. Intelligent coaches see him as the danger man with his cutting through balls, his ability to dribble and beat defenders and his off-the-ball movements on the pitch. He enjoys creating spaces on the pitch and also easily locates players who are well positioned to score goals. He is like unseen engine that drives the team with his sixth sense of finding players and passing them the ball and also finding the net and scoring brilliant goals. His brilliant passes, intelligence, agility, ball control, balance, hardwork, ability to create and score goals put him in a class of his own. As an individual, he is a great team player and very humble. He is an asset every coach would like to have on his team.
He might not have scored a lot of goals, but he has assisted a lot of goals and those rare times he scores, he scores very crucial goals, examples being in the UEFA champions league semi final game against Chelsea in 2009 where he scored the injury time screamer and in the 2010 World Cup final match against Netherlands (Both occasions creating a baby boom in Catalonia and Spain). As a member of La Roja, he shows that indeed, he is a complete player and understands the position of a midfielder. He helped his team win the Euro 2008, World cup 2010 and Euro 2012 (a record set by La Roja). In 2009-10, he went ahead with FC Barcelona to win all 6 cups to be won in one season.
When Barcelona play without him, you notice a difference and void left by him. Without Iniesta, the Spanish team and Barcelona won’t have achieved this much and come this far. His accomplishments with Barcelona include:
? La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11
? Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12; Runner-up 2010–11
? Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011
? UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11
? UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011; Runner-up 2006
? FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011; Runner-up 2006
And for the Spanish national team:
? EURO 2008
? FIFA World Cup: 2010
? EURO 2012
And his Individual achievements include:
? UEFA Euro Team of the Tournament: 2008, 2012
? UEFA Euro 2008 Man Of The Match Semi-final vs. Russia
? La Liga Spanish Player of the Year: 2009
? La Liga’s Best Attacking Midfielder: 2009, 2011
? FIFA/FIFPro World XI: 2009, 2010, 2011
? UEFA Team of the Year: 2009, 2010, 2011
? 2010 FIFA World Cup All-Star Team
? 2010 FIFA World Cup Man Of The Match vs. Chile, Paraguay and Final vs Netherlands
? Prince of Asturias Awards: 2010
? FIFA Ballon d’Or: Second place 2010, 4th Place 2011
? FIFA Puskás Award: Second place 2009
? UEFA Best Player in Europe Award: 4th Place 2011
? UEFA Euro 2012 Man Of The Match vs. Italy, Croatia, Final vs Italy
? UEFA Euro Player of the Tournament: 2012
According to UEFA.com, the UEFA Best Player in Europe award “recognise[s] the best player, irrespective of his nationality, playing for a football club within the territory of a UEFA member association during the previous season.” Players are judged by their performances in all competitions, domestic and international, and at club and national team levels throughout the season. The European footballer of the year award is awarded to the player who has excelled in UEFA’s elite competitions in the 2011/2012 season thus the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Euro competitions as well as top performers in the top European Leagues. Only one player has stood tall in all the aforementioned competitions. Take a bow, CRISTIANO RONALDO.
The Portuguese winger was arguably the key protagonist who secured Real Madrid’s 32nd La Liga crown. Ronaldo scored against all 19 opponents in La Liga including 23 goals away from home. He also tore the conspiracy theorists’ scripts by performing in big games in the La Liga, notably his 73rd minute strike at the Camp Nou that invariably won the La Liga for Real Madrid. In a tight league game against Rayo Vallecano at the Campos de Vallecas, Real Madrid was destined to draw before the former Manchester United player improvised an audacious back heeled goal that ensured a 1-0 win for the men in white. Goals in the Madrid derby (against Atletio Madrid) as well as other highly important goals such as against Real Betis and a hat-trick against Sevilla characterised his season.
In 38 league games, Ronaldo scored 46 goals, four shy of the Pichichi winner, Lionel Messi who scored half a century of goals but Ronaldo still remains the only player to score 40 league goals consecutively and also holds the singular honour of becoming the fastest La Liga player to score 100 goals in just 92 games. The 6ft 1 in forward provided 12 assists in La Liga meaning he contributed to a total of 58 goals (46 goals plus 12 assists) out of the 121 record number of goals Los Blancos scored in the season under retrospect. At the end of the 2011/2012 season, Ronaldo was presented with the Alfredo di Stefano trophy which translates into Best Player in the La Liga, an accolade well-deserved.
In the Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo was again on hand to carry Real Madrid to the top. In the 2010/2011 Champions League season, Madrid suffered the agony of losing out to eternal rivals, Barcelona in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite league football. The shrill cries of “La Decima” all around Spain’s capital in the 2011/2012 season resounded in the ears of Jose Mourinho and his cohorts. Ronaldo responded with 10 goals in 10 Champions League games as well as 3 assists but Bayern Munich was on hand to stop The Whites from tasting Champions League success. Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance in the group stages cannot be overestimated as he guided Real Madrid to top the group with a 100 per cent record (garnering the maximum 18 points) including a master class performance against Olympique Lyonnais where he scored a trademark free kick. 3 goals from Cristiano Ronaldo against tricky Russian opponents, CSKA Moscow helped the nine-time European Champions to a 5-2 aggregrate win. Madrid progressed to the quarter final stage to face Cypriot dark horses, Apoel Nicosia. Ronaldo’s inspiration was much needed as his two goals helped Madrid post an 8-2 agregrate win. In the semi-final stage, Madrid was pitted against their long time European rivals, Bayern Munich but Ronaldo was unfazed by the might of the German record champions as he assisted Mesut Ozil at the Allianz Arena for Madrid’s only goal of that game and also scored twice in the return encounter at the Bernabeu but was not enough as Madrid was bundled out of Europe via post match penalty kicks.
Cristiano Ronaldo has always been slated for his poor showing for his country, Portugal. The Euro 2012 was therefore a true barometer to test Ronaldo’s mettle. Ronaldo’s Portugal was dumped in Group B, obviously the group of death that housed other European powerhouses such as Denmark, Holland and Germany.
Ronaldo and his Portuguese team mates were expected back in Lisbon after the group stages but Ronaldo had other ideas. The Madeira-born forward captained his side to second place finish in the group of death. In the decisive group game against Holland, Ronaldo rose to the occasion as a master class all-round performance was rewarded with two goals and Man of the Match gong. In a tight quarter-final game against a resilient Czech Republic side, Ronaldo was the difference between the two sides as his powerful header set up a semi-final date against Iberian neighbours, Spain. He was again named Man of the Match in that quarter-final game. Portugal eventually bowed out of the competition after losing on penalties to eventual winners of the competition, Spain. Ronaldo was named in the team of the tournament as well as earned the joint top scorer award with 3 goals. After scoring in the 2012 Euro competition, Ronaldo has now scored in every single major competition for Portugal.
In compendium, I’ll say Ronaldo performed creditably in all the competitions he partook and overly satisfied UEFA’s benchmark for selecting the UEFA Best Player in Europe award; 60 goals in 54 games alongside15 assists is testament to the winger’s hardwork and dedication in the 2011/2012 season. The left wing forward also showed he could score all kind of goals. 26 of his goals with his right foot, 9 with his left foot, 7 headers and 4 free kicks. He was a nightmare for opposition defenders. His pacy runs, variety of goals (back heel, long range goals, mid-range goals, chips, volleys) classy step-overs, dribbling technique, performance in big games, dangerous free kicks and his role as a team member made him the best player in Europe last season. Cristiano Ronaldo has undoubtedly abided in the shadows of his nemesis, Lionel Messi for some time now but this year is obviously the time for the former World Best to bask in some glory.
The 53 journalists who’ll decide the fate of the best player award will do the footballing community a great favour of Cristiano Ronaldo mounts the podium all smiles on the 30th of August to receive his award as the UEFA Best Player in Europe. It will be an epic victory for football purists.
The diminutive Argentine has been amazing in the 2011/2012.I would access him by the records and achievements for last season.
NB: All these records were set in the just ended season
• With 73 goals goals for Barcelona, Messi sets a new world record, surpassing Archie Stark.(1924-1925 bethlehem Steel,USA)
• Messi became the first player to score 50 goals in a single season in la liga breaking CR7’s record of 42 goals
• Messi is Barcelona all time scorer with 255 breaking Cesear’s record
• Messi is Barcelona all time scorer in the CL with 51 goals
• Messi is Barcelona all time scorer in European competition with 52 goals
• Messi is Barcelona all time scorer in intertional competition with 56 goals
• Messi is the first player in the history of la liga to score 8 hat-tricks in a single la liga
*Messi equals Gerd Muller record of being top scorer in the CL 4 times
• Messi is the first player to be crowned top scorer in the champions league for 4 consecutive times
• Messi played more matches 60 this season than any previous season than any other player with Barcelona
• Messi registered 29 assists for Barcelona in all competition this season,a new personal record
• Messi became the first player to score and assisted in in 6 different official competition in a calendar year
• Messi became the second player after Pedro to score in 6 different competition in a single season
• Messi scored 5goals in a single CL match against Leverkusen
• Messi scored 35 goals at homeground this la liga season more than any other player in la liga history
• Messi produced 14 hat-tricks in barca carreer,breaking the club record held by cesar(13)
• With 214 games messi is barca most experience foreigner in la liga history beating record of Cocu(205)
• Messi (24) became the youngest player ever to pass the 50-goal mark in the CL
• Messi became record scorer in the CL knock-out stage with 26 goals.Previous record 18(Raul/Shevchenko)
• Messi is the only player to score 2 hat-tricks in a single CL season
• Messi became the second barcelona player to win the pichichi twice after Quini
• Messi scored his 3rd hat-trick for barca this season equaling record held by filippo Inzaghi
• Messi is the only player to score 4 or more goals twice in one game in the knockout stage of of the CL
• Messi became the all time scorer in the supercopa with 8 goals surpassing the record help by Raul – 7goals
• Messi has scored 4 goals in the club world cup more than any other player
• Messi is the 2nd player in Spanish football to to score 35+ goals in all competitions for a 4 seasons in a row
• Messi is the first player to score goals for club and country in one season
• Messi is the 2nd player to win 3 consecutive ballon d’or,after Michel Platini.
• Messi is the youngest player to reach 150 goals in la liga
• Messi is the first player to score 14 goals in a single CL season
• Spanish Supercopa
• Club World Cup
• Copa Del Rey
Messi did marvelously in every competition except the champions league return leg against Chelsea and also the return leg la liga tie against Madrid to caused them both competition titles.
Overall Messi has perform above any other player in Europe to win the Ballon d’or.
Who won the debate?