Based on the headline alone, there's a good chance some of you have come here for a fight. Rapp thinks Cristiano Ronaldo should win the Ballon D'Or? Is he crazy?
No, I'm not.
But I get why you're ready to pick a fight.
Maybe you're a Lionel Messi fan, and you can't figure out how a player who scored 77 goals in all competitions last season for Barcelona and Argentina could be passed over.
How could I possibly ignore the player who is widely considered by pundits and fans alike to be the best in the world?
I get it.
Maybe you think there is a sleeper candidate out there we shouldn't so easily glaze over, like Atlético Madrid's Radamel Falcao. All he did last last season was score 39 goals in all competitions, including a remarkable 12 in 13 Europa League games.
Plus, he already has 13 goals in 10 games for Atlético Madrid this year, and he's doing so with far less talent than Messi or Ronaldo are surrounded with.
So I get that, too.
Perhaps you like Andrés Iniesta to surprise everyone again and take home the award, like he did when he was named UEFA Best Player in Europe. Maybe you think last year's leading goal scorer in the Premier League, Robin van Persie, deserves some love, or that Italy's leading force at the Euros, Andrea Pirlo, deserves recognition.
I can see where you're coming from.
Or perhaps you simply don't like Ronaldo. You find him arrogant, brash, often petulant, sometimes lacking on the biggest stage and generally just irritating.
He's not your kind of guy.
Believe me, I understand that perspective.
But put aside the love you have for your favorite player or try to look past the fact that you despise Ronaldo for a moment, and simply look at what he accomplished last season:
- He scored 71 goals and added 16 assists in all competitions for Real Madrid and Portugal.
- He led Real Madrid to a La Liga title.
- He scored three goals in the Euros and led Portugal to the semifinals, where they took eventual winners Spain to penalty kicks before losing.
Look, statistically speaking there isn't much separating Messi and Ronaldo, and in my opinion, they are close enough in that regard that Ronaldo's silverware last year gives him the edge over Messi.
Heck, even in the Champions League they each went down in the semifinals.
I know Ronaldo doesn't do himself any favors with his demeanor, but he's a truly dynamic player who would easily be considered the world's finest if another once-in-a-lifetime talent didn't happen to be his contemporary.
What aspect of Ronaldo's game is missing?
He has incredible pace, accuracy on his ball, wonderful control and touch, a scorching shot that can also be placed with incredible finesse and accuracy and the ability to take over a game on his own.
He can be selfish, yes, and sometimes he does freeze in the big moments.
But not last season.
Last season, he was fantastic, and he deserves to be honored in that regard.
In general, I think Messi is the better player by the slimmest of margins. But in 2011-12, it was Ronaldo who shone more brightly than his Argentinian counterpart.
Hit me up on Twitter—my tweets aren't afraid to get emotional after a big win.