Madrid - UEFA president Michel Platini and Dutch footballing icon Johann Cruyff have become the latest in a growing list of world football heavyweights to back a German player to win the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or.
Cruyff: 'Neuer is extraordinary'
“There are lots of players who would deserve to win the award,” German news agency SID report Platini, a 59-year-old former France international, as saying in Madrid on Wednesday. “But in my opinion, in a World Cup year the prize should go to a World Cup winner.”
On Tuesday, Cruyff was quoted as saying: “I would vote for a German player in the Ballon d’Or ballot. [Philipp] perhaps isn’t as noticeable but he can play in almost any position. He has been outstanding. [Manuel] is an extraordinary goalkeeper, who would deserve to win it too.”
The duo’s support for a German player comes just days after current Manchester United FC and former FC Bayern München coach Louis Van Gaal made similar comments, telling MUTV: “I hope it shall be a German player because they deserve it.”
Bundesliga dominates FIFA FIFPro World XI shortlist
Lahm and Neuer have both already been nominated for the FIFA FIFPro World XI 2014, alongside compatriots Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, as well as FC Bayern team-mate David Alaba.
The midfield contenders will be announced on Friday 28 November and the strikers on Monday 1 December as part of the complete 55-man shortlist, with the final 11 to be revealed at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala on 12 January 2015.