The 23 men shortlist competing for 2015 Ballon d’Or title has been released by FIFA. There are many surprise additions and misses on the list. Leaving the discussion on deserving players aside, the following are the top 10 players ranked based on their last season 2014-15 and 2015 summer performance.
10 Sergio Agüero
The Premier League golden boot winner scoring 26 goals in 33 league appearances stands at 10. His exploits against Bayern Munich with a hat trick and Tottenham Hotspur with 4 goals were brilliant. He also helped Argentina reach the finals of 2015 Copa America by scoring 3 goals. However, his goal scoring exploits neither benefitted Manchester City nor benefitted Argentina to win a trophy.
47 appearances; 35 goals; 9 assists; 3 hat-tricks in all competitive games for Club and Country
09 Eden Hazard
The PFA player of the year from the English Premier League champions, Chelsea, stands at 9. He has appeared in 52 games for Chelsea – more than any other player. He scored a goal each in Quarterfinals and Semifinals of League Cup. His form, pace and dribbling skills have helped Chelsea win the Premier League and League Cup. He also scored 5 and assisted 1 goals to ensure Belgium are qualified to UEFA Euro 2016 finals.
61 appearances; 24 goals; 14 assists in all competitive games for Club and Country
08 Thomas Müller
The top scorer for Germany in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers scoring 9 and assisting 2 goals, stands at 8. He has also scored 21 and assisted 18 goals for Bayern Munich to win the league and reach semifinals of UEFA Champions League. In his 48 appearances for Bayern Munich, he was awarded yellow cards only twice.
57 appearances; 30 goals; 20 assists; 1 hat-tricks in all competitive games for Club and Country
07 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The top scorer for Sweden with 8 goals and an assist in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers, stands at 7. He has scored 30 and assisted 8 goals for Paris Saint Germain helping them win French Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophée des Champions. He scored the only 2 goals in Trophée des Champions finals. He scored the first 2 goals against Bastia in Coupe de la Ligue finals. His hat-trick in semifinals helped PSG reach Coupe de France finals. He also received a red card in UEFA CL round of 16 game against Chelsea to put PSG under threat for qualification. However, they managed to qualify.
43 appearances; 38 goals; 9 assists; 3 hat-tricks in all competitive games for Club and Country
06 Luis Suárez
The man who couldn’t help Uruguay in 2015 Copa America due to ban, stands at 6. Luis has scored 25 and assisted 24 goals for Barcelona in just 43 games to win UEFA Champions League, La Liga and Copa Del Rey. The best part is that, none of this 25 goals came from a penalty. He scored a goal in the finals, assisted 2 goals in the semifinals of UEFA Champions League. He had an assist in the finals and scored a goal and assisted a goal in the semifinals of Copa Del Rey.
43 appearances; 25 goals; 24 assists; 1 hat-trick in all competitive games for Club and Country
The UEFA Champions League top scorer alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, stands at 5. He has scored 3 goals in quarterfinals, 3 goals in semifinals and 1 goal in finals of UEFA CL. He also scored 2 goals in quarter finals, 2 goals in semifinals and 1 goal in finals of Copa Del Rey. Hence, he has proved quite significant in the UEFA Champions League win and Copa Del Rey win. However, for Brazil, he was red carded in 2015 Copa America for deliberately kicking the ball at opponent and attempting to headbutt Colombian Jeison Murillo.
53 appearances; 40 goals; 12 assists in all competitive games for Club and Country
04 Alexis Sánchez
The 2015 Copa America winner playing for the stylish brand of English Football, Arsenal, stands at 4. He has scored a goal, an assist and a Panenka style penalty kick to seal 2015 Copa America finals. He scored the only 2 goals in semifinals and a goal in finals for Arsenal in FA Cup. He scored 25 goals and 12 assists in 52 games for Arsenal winning the FA Cup. He is the only player in the 23-men shortlist from a club which has finished 3rd in the league. He was chosen PFA Fans’ Player of the Year and Arsenal Player of the Season.
58 appearances; 25 goals; 12 assists in all competitive games for Club and Country
03 Robert Lewandowski
The top scorer in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying, with 13 goals and 5 assists for Poland in 10 games, stands at 3. He has also helped Bayern Munich win German Bundesliga, but lost out on DFP-Pokal, DFL Supercup and UEFA Champions League. For Bayern Munich, he has scored one goal in UEFA CL semifinals and 2 goals in UEFA CL quarterfinals. His exemplary performance both for Bayern Munich and Poland suggests that it will soon be his time for fame.
59 appearances; 38 goals; 18 assists in all competitive games for Club and Country
02 Cristiano Ronaldo
FIFA Balon D’Or in CR-Messi era is reserved for them. The difference between them and others is steep. The European Golden Shoe winner, the Pichichi Trophy winner and the joint Champions League top scorer, stands at 2. Cristiano Ronaldo had a fantastic season with a direct contribution on 88 goals in just 60 games. However, his contribution could help Real Madrid only to win FIFA Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup.
60 appearances; 66 goals; 22 assists; 8 hat-tricks in all competitive games for Club and Country
01 Lionel Messi
The winner of La Liga, UEFA CL, Copa Del Rey and Supercopa de Catalunya and the only penalty taker to convert for Argentina in 2015 Copa America finals, stands at the first place. He has contributed an overall 93 goals directly in 63 games. He has an 1 assist in finals, 2 goals and an assist in semifinals, an assist in quarterfinals of UEFA CL. He has 2 goals in finals, 1 goal and 2 assists in semifinals and 1 goal in quarterfinals of Copa Del Rey. He has also assisted thrice in Copa America semifinals and won Man of the Match award on 4 out of their 6 games. However, not winning Copa America is the only ink blot on his glittery season. He also won the UEFA Best Player in Europe.
63 appearances; 59 goals; 34 assists; 6 hat-tricks in all competitive games for Club and Country