(WFI) A joint entry as it’s difficult to leave either Argentina’s Lionel Messi or Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo out in a World Cup year.
Firstly, they are contesting the FIFA Ballon D’or, with the Real Madrid star expected to win the coveted prize after an outstanding 2013.
Messi has picked up the world player of the year title in the past two years, garnering more than 40% of the votes cast by captains, coaches and journalists. But his recent lack of appearances for Barcelona through injury and Ronaldo’s brilliance for club and country – five hat-tricks and 32 goals in 22 games – make the Real Madrid winger more deserving of winning the honour at the FIFA ceremony on Jan. 13.
Both players could also light up the World Cup in six months time.
Argentina have one of the easiest groups; they should have no trouble advancing from a group that includes, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria.
If fit, Messi is likely to enjoy himself against such weak opposition and may help Argentina prosper in the next phases.
After scoring a hat-trick in the World Cup qualifying play-off against Sweden, Ronaldo will feel the pressure in what could be a tricky group to get out of – Germany, Ghana and USA. But as always when the heat is on he will aim to rise to the challenge.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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