The Ballon d’Or is an annual award given by France Football to the best footballer according to journalists from over 180 countries. The award, formerly known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or since 2010 parted its ways with the Federation in 2016, each now having separate awards.On the 3rd of December 2018, Croat Luka Modrić won his first Ballon d’Or; ending the decade of dominance by star players Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, with the former finishing second and the latter finishing FIFTH. In this article, we shall briefly analyse the overall performances and citations of the top 5 players and match it with the opinions of the so called ‘esteemed journalists.’
As mentioned before, the Ballon d’Or is an annual award and is hence based on the overall performance of a player throughout a calendar year and not a footballing season. Following are some statistics based on some notable contributions by the top 5 players along with the trophies won:
- Luka Modrić- 2 Goals, 7 Assists, Winner-UEFA Champions League, Runner UP- FIFA WC
- Cristiano Ronaldo- 44 Goals, 8 Assists, Winner-UEFA Champions League
- Antoine Griezmann- 29 Goals, 15 Assists, Winner- UEFA Europa League, FIFA WC, UEFA Supercup
- Kylian Mbappé- 21 Goals, 12 Assists, Winner- FIFA WC, Ligue 1, Coupe de France
- Lionel Messi- 45 Goals, 18 Assists, Winner- La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Supercopa d’Espana
We can clearly see that the players who have won the UEFA Champions League and/or the FIFA World Cup are more likely to be in a better position. Kylian Mbappé’s teammate as well as the world’s most expensive player- Neymar Jr. finished 19th, scoring 7 more goals and providing 4 more assists than his french teammate. It is evident that the competition is not only based on the individual performance of the player but also is highly dependent on the player’s team winning a major trophy.
Did Messi really deserve the 5th position? In 2018, Messi ended up with the highest number of goals, assists, free kicks scored, chances created as well as the most dribbles completed by a single player. All these monumental figures haven’t been given justice by the organisation. Now lets throw some light on the most controversial part of this award- the rankings and the opinions by the journalists involved.
This year, France Football let the footballing world know the ranks given by the ‘esteemed journalists’ by making the rankings public. With most ranking Modrić on the top, certain journalists surprised the public with their absurd opinions and rankings. Media members from Radio Centrafrique(Central African Republic) and sport.kg(Kyrgyzstan) ranked Karim Benzema and Thibaut Courtois in the apex of the ranking pyramid respectively. There were also various reports of France Football Mishandling reports and ‘changing’ the rankings given by certain journalists.
In conclusion, the once admired and highly regarded Ballon d’Or award, has certainly lost its credibility. Its absurd rankings and appalling ways of determining awards has made it nothing short of a farce.