Madrid: Platini wrong to dismiss Cristiano Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or
Real Madrid have hit out at UEFA president Michel Platini after he suggested that a Germany international, not Cristiano Ronaldo, should win this year's Ballon d'Or.
Ronaldo has been widely viewed as the big favourite to win the award in January, however, Platini recently said he would prefer it if a member of this summer's World Cup-winning Germany team was recognised, with Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos and Mario Gotze having all made the shortlist.
These comments have not been well received in the Spanish capital, where Blancos coach Carlo Ancelotti and president Florentino Perez have been backing Ronaldo to win the individual award for a third time.
And on Friday, Madrid released an official statement criticising Platini for what he said, while putting forward their player's case to claim the Ballon d'Or.
The statement read: "In view of the declarations made by the president of UEFA, Michel Platini, concerning the winner of the Ballon d'Or, Real Madrid C. F. would like to outline:
"Firstly, its surprise at the repeated declarations regarding his personal preferences over the choice of the winner of the Ballon d'Or, particularly given that he is the head of European football's principal body, where our understanding is that the strictest impartiality should prevail.
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"Secondly, the Ballon d'Or is an individual rather than collective prize which is awarded annually to the best player in the world, and we believe that, in order to maintain its prestige, those who participate in the vote should take into account exclusively the individual professional achievements of the players.
"Finally, we believe that Cristiano Ronaldo has without doubt had his best ever professional year individually, and has claimed the Champions League, the Golden Shoe and the record for the highest goal scorer in an edition of the Champions League, as well as the Copa del Rey and the top scorer award in La Liga. In the current season, he has won the UEFA Super Cup, scoring both goals in the match, and is achieving spectacular figures such as his 20 goals in the first 12 matchdays of La Liga, which confirm his great moment of form and ensure that, more than ever, he is deserving of the Ballon d'Or."
Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao was also unimpressed by Platini's comments, referring to them as "disgraceful."
Coentrao said in an interview with A Bola that his Madrid and Portugal teammate was clearly deserving of the prize ahead of any of the Germany internationals shortlisted.
"Occupying the position [Platini] has, with his responsibilities, directing such a campaign can only leave you in a bad place," Coentrao said. "Anyone can see it would be a real disgrace if Cristiano did not receive this Ballon d'Or, which is an individual prize and not a collective one. No matter how much campaigning they do, they will not be able to change what everyone has seen."
Coentrao, who travels to Madrid training every day in Ronaldo's car and shares an agent, Jorge Mendes, with his close friend, said that for Platini to try and politicise the process for choosing the world's best player was "shameful" and "ridiculous."
"The idea that some people wish to transform the Ballon d'Or into a political decision is shameful," he said. "To listen to some people who have positions of enormous responsibility, it could be interpreted as comments to try and influence the decision. And that seems to me, at the very least, ridiculous."
Ronaldo's record-breaking 17 goals as Madrid won last season's Champions League, and 20 goals in his first 11 La Liga games this term, were among the reasons why he deserved the prize, said Coentrao.
The full-back then added that he agreed with Ancelotti that it was already time for fans and pundits to start discussing who might win the 2015 award, as the debate over this year's prize was already closed.
"There has never been such a big difference between the best and the second best," he said. "As [Ancelotti] said a short while ago, we can start speaking about next year's Ballon d'Or, because there is no point in discussing this year's any more -- only Cristiano could win it. In 2014 it is not hard to recognise that Cristiano was clearly the best in the world."
Meanwhile, another Madrid full-back, Alvaro Arbeloa, made similar comments when speaking to AS at a commercial event in the Spanish capital.
The former Liverpool player was more measured in his statement, but agreed that Platini had no right to interfere in this decision.
"With all my respect, I do not understand how the president of UEFA can comment on a matter like this, or take a position," Arbeloa said. "I believe his role is too important to then speak about certain things. This year the winner has just one name."
Anyone who looked at things from an objective perspective would say Ronaldo was the deserving winner, Arbeloa maintained.
"The truth is it is a pity for those who organise the Ballon d'Or as there is not much debate," he said "In all the world of football, there are no doubts that the best player has been Cristiano by far. He has had a spectacular season and has pulverised all the records for goals in the Champions League. It could seem I am saying this as I am his teammate, but anybody who is even a little bit objective knows that Cristiano is the winner."
Ancelotti also followed the club line set in Friday's statement, telling a news conference: "I do not believe that it is correct for [Platini] to give an opinion on the Ballon d'Or."