The phenomenal duo Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared the Ballon d’Or between them since 2007 but former Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal feels a new winner should emerge at the FIFA gala on January 12, 2015 in Zurich.
The 63-year-old Manchester United boss, who guided the Netherlands to a third-place finish at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil is of the opinion a member of the victorious German squad should win the Footballer of the Year award this time and not four-time winner Messi or two-time winner Ronaldo.
Six of Germany’s World Cup-winning squad are in contention to win the award with Mario Gotze, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Bastian Schweinsteiger all included on the 23-man shortlist, though, Van Gaal was quick to admit Portuguese sensation Ronaldo and Argentine skipper Messi are favourites once again.
“I don’t think you can compare players in different positions. It is more for the football world and outside world than for other things I believe. I think it will be Ronaldo or Messi but I want to say that you have to win something,” Van Gaal, who is also FIFA coach of the year nominee said.
“And the best thing to win is the World Cup so I hope it will be a German player because they deserve it.
“In Germany, the level of the Bundesliga matches is also very high so I think it should be a German player.”
Van Gaal was in the stands last night at Old Trafford to watch Portugal beat Argentina 1-0 in an international friendly courtesy of a late header from Raphael Guerreiro.
About 50,000 spectators were at the Theatre of Dreams to watch the sold out blockbuster showdown, but they might have felt short-changed after Ronaldo and Messi were substituted at halftime.
Meanwhile, Van Gaal has ruled himself out of the running for Coach of the Year accolade considering United’s torrid start to the season with just four wins out of 11 and are seventh in the Premier League.
“When you say the results of Manchester United it is unbelievable that I’m on the Coach of the Year shortlist,” the former Bayern Munich coach added.