Earlier this week, a collection of journalists and voters convened in Paris, France to choose the 2018 winner of the highly coveted award in world football.
Unlike other Ballon d’Or ceremonies which had been dominated by Ronaldo and Messi for the last decade, this was dominated by names you could most unlikely suspect to feature in the top four. Let’s call it an extremely embarrassing coronation of football’s finest if you like. Just the feeling that Luka Modric took home the biggest prize in men’s football is not only surprising but also very ridiculous too.
While I hold Luka Modric in high regard for his stellar performance last season both at club and country levels, I feel that he has had much better seasons than the one he had last year, seasons where he performed better but he did not get near to the top three nominations.
Modric achieving the Ballon’Dor did not serve justice to many great players like Xavi, Iniesta, Sneijder and Thierry Henry- fair to say the collection of best players of their generation, the sport has ever seen that were equally good to win such a honour. Of course many will say they were simply unlucky to share football’s top most prize at the same time as Messi and Ronaldo were at the summit of their careers.
This year’s ballon D’or will go down as one of the lowest moments in the history of football where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo of all people (who in many respects and certainly in my personal opinion had the best season for an individual footballer last year) did not get recognised for the first time in many years.
It will also reignite a debate on the standards on how these awards are dished out. Of course world cup has always produced new comers for this award. Does it go to the best individual player or the most important player in the side that has won major trophies? If yes, how did Modric whose side lost the world cup emerge victorious? That to me is a fundamental question that must be answered or else it will generate more controversy creating inconsistency and lack of precedent in choosing winners for this award in future.
It appears to me that journalists and voters who choose the winner had hangover for Messi- Ronaldo hegemony and wanted to bring to an end of two individuals who have ruled and conquered the sport for the entirety of the last decade that people are actually tired of them winning everything.
Again Ronaldo and Lionel Messi had the best of their campaigns last season with each good numbers and trophies single handedly on their individual contributions.
And if these achievements do not warrant a Ballon d’Or, then French Football as a media-house should also apologise to Thierry Henry Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Wesley Sneijder who finished their careers without winning the top prize despite having equally phenomenal seasons in the Messi-Ronaldo era, and I daresay if not better than what Luka Modric had last year.