Football icon Kaka was the last Brazilian to capture the coveted Ballon d’Or trophy. The energetic midfielder was 25 when he hoisted the trophy while playing for A.C. Milan.
At 33 the midfielder is currently playing for Orlando City SC in his classic attacking midfielder role. He’s recently elaborated not only on the Ballon d’Or nominees for 2015, but the significance of the trophy itself.
Neymar is the first Brazilian short-listed for the award in almost a decade, which Kaka believes speaks to the state of affairs in Brazilian football.
“It’s difficult to point out a single reason for this, but it must serve to alert Brazilian football. And, truth be told, it’s no easy task to forge a Ballon d’Or winner.”
Especially with the lock that Ronaldo and Messi have put on the award for the last seven years. The Real Madrid and Barcelona star have turned the annual prize into a seemingly choice a or choice b scenario, but things weren’t much different when Kaka took the trophy in 2007 either.
“It had always been a rotation: Ronaldo and Zidane won it three times, but there was always some other player – names like Figo, Ronaldinho, myself, Rivaldo, Cannavaro… Then comes this succession of Cristiano and Messi, only the two of them – and it is fair, for what they have been doing year after year,”
As far as the Brazilian currently in the running Kaka believes Neymar has matured into a winner,
“Thankfully, Neymar has improved a lot since he’s gone to play in Europe – his game is a lot more mature. Now it’s a matter of time until he reaches first place.”
The award winner will be announced on January 11th, and while it really is anyone’s trophy Neymar makes a strong case for himself with this spot of brilliance alone:
But if he doesn’t take it home this year, in the words of Kaka, it’s only a matter of time.
Jerseys for any of the three 2015 Ballon d’Or finalists can be purchased at www.soccercorner.com