Why Sunil Chhetri Voted for Neuer Ahead of Ronaldo and Messi

Updated: 13 January 2015 22:17 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo won his third Ballon d'Or award on Tuesday.

Why Sunil Chhetri Voted for Neuer Ahead of Ronaldo and Messi
German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer at the Ballon d'Or awards ceremony. © AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo won his third FIFA Ballon d'Or award garnering 37% percent of the total votes, more than the combined total of his closest competitors- Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer.

But despite the overwhelming support that Ronaldo received from the voters, the Portuguese did not get Sunil Chhetri's nod. (Lionel Messi's purple patch of confusion)

The Indian national captain voted for Manuel Neuer as his first choice for the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or. (Ronaldo eyes Messi's tally in Ballon d'Or race)

"I voted for Neuer followed by Thomas Muller because these two won the World cup and also won their domestic league title with Bayern Munich. Neuer especially had a great season. He has redefined goalkeeping according to me. How often do you see a goalkeeper not only make saves but also play as a defender?

According to me he isn't just a safe goalkeeper, he's a smart goalkeeper too. For this reason alone I voted for Neuer ahead of Ronaldo and Messi", Chhetri told NDTV.

The FIFA Ballon D'Or is awarded to the footballer of the year based on the total number of votes received from national captains, national team coaches and one football journalist from each of FIFA's 209 member nations.  

Interestingly, in the 58 year long history of the Ballon d'Or only one goalkeeper has ever walked away with the coveted trophy- Russian stopper Lev Yashin in 1963.

So are Goalkeepers at a distinct disadvantage when compared to strikers, simply because of the nature of their job? Simply because saving goals isn't considered as glamourous as scoring goals? The Indian captain agrees.

"It's true, if you read the newspapers or listen to fans, they all talk about the players that score goals or the number of assists provided by them. So, in that context goalkeepers have the demerit of not being as renowned as strikers", said Chhetri.

But that is not to say that the India captain thinks Ronaldo didn't deserve the award.

"Both Messi and Ronaldo are amazing players, but I think Ronaldo had a better year than Messi, primarily also because Messi was out injured for a couple of months", added Chhetri.

A candid confession from a self confessed Lionel Messi fan.

Topics : Manuel Neuer Lionel Andres Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro Football
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