The winger holds no bitterness towards the trio after being overlooked for the final three in the race to be crowned the world’s best player
Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben has paid tribute to Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer by saying all three are worthy contenders for the 2014 Ballon d’Or.
The winger himself had a strong case for inclusion in the final three to be named the world’s best player after excelling for club and country over the past 12 months.
Robben lifted the Bundesliga with his club before helping the Netherlands reach the semi-finals of the World Cup where they were knocked out on penalties by Argentina.
Despite his best efforts the 30-year-old was overlooked by his fellow professionals in the voting, but insists he is not in the slightest bit bitter and instead praised the three men in the running.
“They [Messi, Ronaldo and Neuer] deserved it, because they are fantastic players,” he told NOS.
“It comes down to a vote, so I can’t do anything about it. It’s out of my own hands. I had a great year and did everything I could. But there are a lot of players that really show great things.”
Robben’s omission prompted Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to declare it was a “shame” the man who has scored 23 goals in 51 games in 2014 missed out, but the forward remains realistic over the prize.
“It’s nice that Rummenigge respects so much and gives me some credit for the successes, but the people have chosen and they chose these three great players.”