For the past few seasons the Ballon d’Or award has been an opportunity to honour whoever of Ronaldo and Messi has had the better campaign, whilst also acknowledging some of the mere mortals who have displayed outstanding performances.
To say that this year’s shortlist was surprising would be a massive understatement. Whilst not everyone is bound to agree on every name present on a list of 59, the selection certainly raised a few eyebrows. Why? Simply because some of the players on it just did not belong a a shortlist of the game’s very best.
Some of the nominees this year included Arsenal replacement keeper Ospina, Manchester City flop-in-the-making Bony, Everton substitute Atsu as well as Vargas who was part of QPR’s relegated side last season.
Also included were Swindon Town (League 1, that’s the third division!!) Australian international Luongo and former Barcelona wonderkid Dos Santos, who never lived up to his talent and now plays in the MLS at just 26 years of age.
Where are they?
On the other hand, there were some really obvious names missing from the list. Ospina’s inclusion looked even more awkward when one notices Buffon’s absence, despite Juventus’ solid campaign last term.
Likewise and it hurts to say, but several of Chelsea’s title winners (Fabregas, Terry, Oscar) deserved a mention, as did those who played a key role in Barca’s treble such as Alves and Mascherano. Pique, who’s often been included in previous years despite absolutely shocking performances, somehow doesn’t make the cut either.
Other omissions include:
- David Silva
- Hugo Lloris
- Claudio Marchisio
- Gonzalo Higuain
- Mario Gotze
- Thiago Silva
- Marco Verratti (probably the world’s best young midfielder at the minute)
What’s going on?
It seems like FIFA has taken a leaf out of UEFA’s book. In recent years, UEFA’s attempt to democratise Europe’s top competitions like the Champions League has meant inclusion of more teams from lesser football nations.
Similarly, FIFA’s clear intent to show awareness of a range of national and international competitions -many of the stars undoubtedly owe their inclusion for good performances in the Copa America for instance – means some of the names on the list just look out of place. And they are.
Come on, sort it out.