The 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or will be award on Monday, and famous players from around the world are still being asked to give their predictions on who will win the award. While some in the media out there are running stories that Cristiano Ronaldo has already won the award, Manuel Neuer still has a shot at winning this thing until the winner is officially announced.
FIFA.com interviewed Alessandro Del Piero about the Ballon d'Or, and he had some interesting things to say.
What would you say are the most impressive qualities of the three finalists in the players' category, and are they the most deserving three?
The three finalists are the best of the bunch, no question. Cristiano Ronaldo's personal stats are truly impressive. A lot has been said about the concept of ‘the modern player', well this guy is not just modern but also of the future. Messi, for his part, is the real deal when it comes to No10s. I remember [during the World Cup] in Brazil seeing countless kids wearing his jersey - even Brazilian youngsters wearing the shirt of an Argentinian! He represents a type of football that transcends borders. As for Manuel Neuer, he's given us a new way of interpreting the role of a goalkeeper: not only is he very good with his feet, he also brings more mobility to his team. On top of that, he's obviously a superb shot-stopper and Germany's world title owed a lot to him.
Del Piero gives a little lip service to all three players here, but his comments on Neuer is a continuing theme from the majority of people when discussing this award. Neuer has "given us a new way of interpreting the role of a goalkeeper".
Neuer is revolutionizing the sport.
So, who do you think will win the Ballon d'Or?
I'm not going to say who my pick would be but I'll chance a prediction and say Neuer. He was integral to Germany's great World Cup and to a wonderful season for Bayern in the Bundesliga. The situation is a bit like we had in 2006, when Gigi Buffon narrowly missed out on winning the [France Football] Ballon d'Or to team-mate and fellow world champion Fabio Cannavaro, who also picked up the FIFA World Player of the Year.
So, another great player in the game has stated that Neuer should be the winner of the Ballon d'Or. Now, will the voters do the correct thing and award the trophy to Manuel?