Commentary

The case for Barca's Messi, Neymar and Suarez on Ballon d'Or shortlist

The finalists for the 2015 Ballon d'Or are out, and there should be no surprise that the three candidates are Cristiano Ronaldo, winner in 2008, 2013 and 2014, Lionel Messi, winner in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and second to Ronaldo the last two years, and Neymar, who will take his place on the podium for the first time. But the way Luis Suarez has been playing recently, a strong case could be made that an all-Barcelona trio should be honored: Messi, Suarez and Neymar, dubbed MSN.

Neymar scored twice and Messi and Suarez each scored once as Barcelona put on another tantalizing display of soccer in its 4-0 win over Real Sociedad. That came on the heels of a 6-1 victory over Roma in the UEFA Champions League.

The goals gave Messi 44 goals, Neymar 41 and Suarez 40 for a total of 125 goals by the trio in all competitions in 2015. That's the same total as Europe's highest-scoring team, Bayern Munich.

Just three times previously has one team produced the top three finishers in the voting for the Ballon d'Or. AC Milan did it in 1988 and 1989 when Marco van Basten was the winner. Ruud Gullit was second in 1988 and Franco Baresi was the runner-up the next year, while Frank Rijkaard took third both years. In 2010, Messi finished ahead of Barcelona teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

It's hard not to include Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored a personal-best 48 La Liga goals in 2014-15 to win his third Pichichi trophy and he scored 61 goals in all competitions for Real Madrid. He has been a model of consistency, the first player in the history of Spanish soccer to score 50 or more goals for five straight seasons. CR7 hasn't been too shabby in 2015-16, either. He has scored 19 goals in 20 games for Real Madrid. But after capturing four trophies with Real Madrid in 2014 -- all but the La Liga and Copa del Rey titles -- he finished in the 2014-15 campaign winless.

But would Barcelona have dominated with Messi and Neymar alone? Perhaps. But Suarez, signed from Liverpool, was a key figure in the Catalan clubs' treble march, scoring key goals on all three fronts. Suarez scored the winning goal in the 2–1 victory over Real Madrid that effectively decided La Liga season. "That is why we signed him," said Barca coach Luis Enrique. "He can decide games."

This fall, Suarez's value was even more evident as the Uruguayan helped carry Barca while Messi was sidelined with a knee injury.

"Luis Suarez brings us a lot," Luis Enrique said after a Suarez hat trick gave Barca a 3-1 win over Eibar a month ago. "What he gives you is priceless and unquestionable. He has that power in the area and is irreplaceable."

Neymar, for one, would have liked Suarez on the podium with Messi and him.

"I think I do deserve to be [among the finalists] for what I'm doing," he said. "I would be happy if the trident [Messi, Suarez, Neymar] were all in the three. Thanks to the history we are making and because of what we have conquered, all three of us should be there."

4 comments about "The case for Barca's Messi, Neymar and Suarez on Ballon d'Or shortlist".
  1. John Soares, December 1, 2015 at 12:17 a.m.

    So if I understand correctly!? Even thought Ronaldo has the best stats of the four. He should be left out because his team isn't winning trophies??? Makes you wonder how well Ronaldo would be doing IF he had Neymar and Suarez on his team. AND, Should we then just disregard Messi? With this amazing trio, defenses don't know which way to turn. Ronaldo is THE marked man and still out scores them all!

  2. Monica Ramirez, December 1, 2015 at 2:03 a.m.

    Yeah because Penaldo can only score penalties. Messi is the best in the world!

  3. beautiful game, December 1, 2015 at 11:56 a.m.

    JS, there is no doubt about CR7's abilities and efficacy. As for having Neymar & Suarez on his team, that would be a total failure, CR7's Matador ego would not be a good recipe for that trio.

  4. Richard Brown, December 4, 2015 at 6:47 a.m.

    A lot of fans don't think any player reached greatness unless his WC team wins the WC. Go by that none of them are great.

    On comparing CR7 to Messi. In my oppionion it is easier to attack on the flank then inside the field.

    Between those two great players. Messi is more dangerous when he has the ball inside the field and there are defenders behind the ball.

    Don't get crazy Chinagilia always said he was better then Pele when they played together on the Cosmos. Just like CR7 likes to say he is better then Messi.

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