2014 Ballon d’Or Betting Odds
Zack GarrisonNo comments
At the end of every year, the Ballon d’Or is given to the best soccer player on the planet (as judged by the coaches and captains of national teams).
Recently, FIFA announced its shortlist of 23 Ballon d’Or nominees. The list is replete with superstars and living-legends, giving the voters a lot to think about before they cast their ballots. With 2014 being a World Cup year, the players’ performances on the biggest stage in the world could be a decisive factor in determining the winner.
There are so many great names on the list and there has been so much compelling action over the past 11 months, but we have created brief resumes for the top contenders complete with their odds to win the 2014 Ballon d’Or (along with a list of notable omissions):
Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid/Portugal -800
Cristiano Ronaldo is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or. With 16 goals in the UEFA Champions League last season, he’s the favorite to win his third trophy. Not only was Ronaldo key in Real Madrid’s tenth Champions League title, but he has been outstanding at the start of the 2014-15 season.
The biggest knock against Ronaldo is his performance with Portugal at the 2014 World Cup, where failed to lead his team out of the group stage; however, he was injured at the time, which will lessen the impact of his marginal performance.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona/Argentina +700
Lio Messi has four Ballon d’Or trophies and is considered by many as the best player of his generation, but he hasn’t been as dominant in the last year and a half as most expected. Messi took Argentina to the World Cup final and looked phenomenal throughout the tournament until the final game, where the Little Wizard’s spells ran dry. (He was still named the player of the tournament, though.)
While the World Cup final may not hurt his chances too much, Messi also failed to win anything with Barcelona last season – which may be judged more harshly. Were it not for Ronaldo, Messi would be favored to win a fifth trophy.
Manuel Neuer – Bayern Munich/Germany +1200
A goalkeeper has never won this trophy before, but Neuer was tremendous while backstopping Germany to a World Cup title. (Neuer was named Best Goalkeeper at the tournament.) He was also excellent all season long with Bayern Munich.
It’s not only Neuer’s ability to keep the ball out of his net that makes him a great player, it’s also the way he commands his defense. However, it will be a huge surprise for a keeper to win the award, especially with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo at or near the top of their game.
Thomas Muller – Bayern Munich/Germany +2500
Thomas Muller is a hybrid between a midfielder and a striker. He calls himself “the man of the important goals” (that’s a rough translation). Muller scored five goals at the World Cup, finishing second for the Golden Boot behind Colombian James Rodriguez.
Neymar – Barcelona/Brazil +3300
Sidelined with a back injury, Neymar could do nothing but watch as Brazil was clobbered by the Germans, 7-1, in the World Cup semifinal. He has developed greatly as a striker in two seasons with Barcelona, but he hasn’t won any major tournament that would boost his Ballon d’Or resume. And though he has looked exceptional with Barcelona, he has still be the second-best player on the team (behind Messi). When you’re the second-best player on your club team, you don’t tend to win the trophy for best player in the world, regardless of your international credentials.
James Rodriguez – Real Madrid/Colombia +3300
James Rodriguez was the top scorer in the World Cup with six goals; his prolific right foot led Colombia to the quarterfinals. He also had a nice summer after moving to Real Madrid. But, like Neymar, he is not the top player on his own club team and, therefore, is a longshot for the Ballon d’Or.
Arjen Robben – Bayern Munich/Netherlands +4000
Arjen Robben should have better odds than this, but he has gotten little respect over his career due, in part, to his controversial playing style. Robben was a stud in the World Cup taking Netherlands to the semifinals. In the eyes of many, he was deserving of the hardware taken home by Messi. His flagrant dive in the round of 16 against Mexico may hurt his chances.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid/Wales +4000
Gareth Bale had a tremendous season with Real Madrid in 2013-2014, helping his team win the European championship. But Bale and his Welsh countrymen didn’t qualify for the World Cup and he has been battling injuries at the start of this season. Both of those should keep his trophy shelf bare.
Phillip Lahm – Bayern Munich/Germany +4000
Phillip Lahm played most of his career as a right fullback, but since coach Pep Guardiola took over Bayern Munich, he has seen more playing time in midfield. Lahm is one the most intelligent players in the World but has no real shot at the award, which rarely goes to defensive minded players. The last defender to win the trophy was Italian Fabio Cannavaro back in 2006.
Diego Costa – Chelsea/Spain +6600
Diego Costa was injured during the World Cup, and Spain was eliminated early. That said, Costa took Atletico Madrid to the UEFA Champions League final (as a relative longshot) and has had a tremendous start to this season with Chelsea, who remain undefeated in both Champions League and Premier League play.
Mario Gotze – Bayern Munich/Germany +6600
The only reason Mario Gotze is on this list is because he scored the winning goal at the World Cup. While that was enough to get him on the shortlist, it won’t be enough to propel him to victory.
Bastian Schweinsteiger – Bayern Munich/Germany +8000
German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could be the most intelligent player in the World and also one of the most underrated. Schweinsteiger was Bayern Munich’s best player when they won the UEFA Champions League in 2013, yet finished 17th in the voting for the 2013 Ballon d’Or. He wasn’t quite as good this year as last and has no real shot at the trophy.
Toni Kroos – Real Madrid/Germany +8000
Another German midfielder makes the list. Surprise, surprise. Kroos saw his stock rise in the World Cup, where he was an anchor in the German midfield. He moved to a stacked Real Madrid team in the summer and will finish behind a couple of his teammates in the voting.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – PSG/Sweden +8000
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a joy to watch on the field. Like Bale, he failed to take his country to the World Cup in 2014, which hurts his chances a great deal.
Angel Di Maria – Manchester United/Argentina +10000
Before he moved to Manchester United in the summer, Argentinean Angel Di Maria helped Real Madrid win their tenth European crown. Di Maria was more decisive in the UEFA Champions League final than any other player in the game. Like with Goetze, though, one great game doesn’t net you the Ballon d’Or.
Eden Hazard – Chelsea/Belgium +10000
Eden Hazard took Belgium to the quarterfinals in the World Cup and had a good season with Chelsea. He’s a great player, but a notch down from the players at the top of this list.
Andres Iniesta – Barcelona/Spain +15000
While considered one of the top players in the planet, Iniesta (like his Barcelona team as a whole) had a down season in 2013-14. He also made no real impact during Spain’s shocking dismissal in the group stage at the World Cup.
- Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid/Spain +10000
- Karim Benzema – Real Madrid/France +15000
- Thibault Courtoius – Chelsea/Belgium +15000
- Yaya Toure – Man City/ C?te d’Ivoire +15000
- Javier Mascherano – Barcelona/Argentina +25000
- Paul Pogba – Juventus/France +25000
As in every year, some notable names missed out on being nominated. Here are the top 2014 snubs (though no one should be too surprised that Luis “The Cannibal” Suarez failed to garner a nomination):
- Sami Khedira – Real Madrid/Germany
- Andrea Pirlo – Juventus/Italy
- Cesc Fabregas – Chelsea/Spain
- David Silva – Man City/Spain
- Sergio Aguero – Man City/Argentina
- Luis Suarez – Barcelona/Uruguay
- Robin van Persie – Man United/Netherlands
- Alexis Sanchez – Arsenal/Chile
- Radamel Falcao – Man United/Colombia