A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

Manchester clubs trail Spanish heavyweights in Balloon d’Or nominations

La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid dwarf Manchester United and Manchester City in the nominations for the coveted Ballon d’Or trophy, announced on Tuesday.

Of the 23 players short-listed for the award, eight are from Barcelona and five from Real Madrid, with just two from Manchester United and a solitary performer from Manchester City.


Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi won the 2010 Ballon d’Or trophy


Lionel Messi, Xavi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the early frontrunners for the prestigious prize, due to be decided at the second FIFA Ballon d’Or gala on 9 January 2012.

The short-list does little to close the gap developing between the two top clubs in England and their Spanish counterparts.

Sir Alex Ferguson commented on the Spanish dominance of the award, saying: “The nominations are not a surprise. But it is interesting to see which players are involved.”

“The fact that there are seven Spanish players tells you everything.”

The seven Spanish men in question are Casillas and Xabi Alonso, (Madrid) and Fabregas, Villa, Xavi, Iniesta and Pique. (Barcelona).

Staggeringly, four out of the five Spanish players from the Nou Camp are Catalan.

Brought up in the region, receiving their footballing education at the La Masia training centre, these players have been developed in the distinct Barcelona mould.

The local talents at Barcelona nominated for the Ballon d’Or could not contrast more with the situation in Manchester.


Manchester United’s commercial king Wayne Rooney is England’s only nominee for the Balloon d’Or 2011


United can boast Luis Nani and Wayne Rooney amongst the greatest players on the globe, whilst City can point to Sergio Aguero as a world beater.

However these players emanate from the Cape Verde, Liverpool and Buenos Aires respectively.

It may be fanciful to think that Barcelona’s system of youth production can be bettered or even matched in Manchester, but it looks to be crucial to their current golden period of success.

In May Barcelona outclassed Ferguson’s Manchester United in the Champions League Final, comfortable winning 3-1 at Wembley Stadium.

It was the second time in three years that Barcelona had triumphed over the Red Devils in Europe’s greatest club competition, winning the trophy in 2009 after a 2-0 victory in Rome.

Such is the talent at coach Pep Guardiola’s disposal, one would not begrudge the club its eight Balloon d’Or nominees, filling over a quarter of the entire short-list.

And the production line at Barcelona is not showing any signs of coming to a halt, with recent graduates Pedro Rodriguez and Thiago Alcantara breaking into the first team, it seems that the club could better their eight nominations for the trophy next season.

Barcelona pose a threatening prospect for Sir Alex Ferguson and Roberto Mancini to contemplate this seaon, to mention nothing of Real Madrid, as these Manchester managers look to compete at the top table in Europe.

Barcelona celebrate winning the Champions League 2011, defeating Manchester United 3-1



November 7, 2011 - Posted by | Football

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