Cristiano Ronaldo was the proud recipient of this season’s Ballon d’Or award after gaining the majority of votes from coaches and captains of international teams, as well as journalists from around the world.
But Football Manager 2014 believe there’s a better way of deciding which player in the final three should have actually won the prestigious award – using Sports Interactive’s award-winning game.
They put the three shortlisted players – Ronaldo, Messi and Ribery – in the bottom three Championship sides halfway through the season to see if they really could do it “on a wet and windy night in Bolton”; and from there can see who really does deserve to win the Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo was put into the Barnsley side:
Barnsley jump from bottom of the table in early January to finish in 15th place thanks to Ronaldo
The Portuguese winger scores 17 goals in the second half of the season
He earns an average rating of 7.57 which is comfortably the best in Barnsley’s squad
He scores a hat-trick against Millwall and a total of 6 braces
He also lays on 5 assists for his team-mates
Ronaldo also helps Barnsley to a 10 game unbeaten run stretching from late March until the end of the season
His pace and skill lead many teams to play a 5 man defence against Barnsley just to deal with the threat of Ronaldo
Messi was put into the Yeovil side:
Despite the arrival of Messi in January, Yeovil are relegated on 46 points
Messi scores 11 goals in the 23 remaining Yeovil fixtures
His average rating was 8.04 which was the easily best in the league between January and May
He makes 8 assists and earns 14 Player of the Match awards – again the highest in the league
Scores all 3 goals in a 3-2 win over Derby as well as a brace against Ipswich
Yeovil’s defensive frailties are the main reason for their relegation, despite Messi’s best efforts to keep them up
Messi also struggles to link up with team-mates higher up the pitch – an issue he doesn’t have to deal with at Barcelona – and his pass completion is only 70%, in the bottom half of the team in that area
Ribery went into the Doncaster side:
Ribery helps Doncaster to a 19th placed finish, 7 points clear of relegation
He scores 9 goals in 19 matches
His average rating of 7.35 is easily the best in Doncaster’s squad
He makes 6 assists and is named Player of the Match 7 times
His pass completion percentage (86%) and cross completion (43%) are the highest in the league
Ribery’s creativity also benefits the rest of the team with Theo Robinson taking his tally to the season to 11 goals, mainly as a result of Ribery’s assists
Ribery scores all three goals in a 3-1 victory over Millwall and then goes on to score one and set one up against Millwall in the penultimate game of the season
So as you can see, FM14 shows that Ronaldo is indeed the world’s best players at the moment. And unfortunately, for Yeovil fans, not even Lionel Messi could keep them in the Championship this season.