Ballon d’Or: Power Ranking the 23 Finalists

5 of 7

Jul 29, 2014; Dallas, TX, USA; Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale (11) during the game against AS Roma at Cotton Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We Don’t Need No Stinking World Cup

5. Gareth Bale, Wales, Real Madrid

4. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden, Paris Saint-Germain

Next up is a duo of players who performed so well for their club teams that they found themselves on this list in spite of missing out on the World Cup.

Bale came to Madrid under huge expectations after his massive price tag. All he did was score 21 goals, with two of them of huge meaning. His goal in the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona was the game winner, coming in the 85th minute. More importantly, his goal in the 110th minute against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final broke the back of their La Liga rivals, leading to the onslaught of goals to seal the deal for Madrid.

Zlatan didn’t attain quite the club success as Bale, but his 36 goals and 11 assists is as impressive as it gets for those on this list. While he didn’t make the World Cup, he did lead PSG to the domestic tournament title and the Ligue 1 title. At 33 years old, it’s uncertain how much longer Ibra will be able to compete at this level. We’ve already seen his body start to break down this year, which means we need to enjoy Zlatan as long as we can.