Ballon D’or

Football is a language spoken by few but understood by many. It is played in almost all the countries of the world thus making it the most popular sport in the world. Football is played both by professionals and non-professionals alike. From the professionals on our 4-a-side courts to those that make our nights memorable and the millions of “Peles” around the world that play with their mouths -who no matter the situation – are always right.

Last night, the biggest stars left their respective galaxies to grace the awards event in faraway Switzerland. It was the biggest collection of present and past footballers of our time. They all came to witness the event as the best players were rewarded for a job well done. There were other awards on ground too but undoubtedly, the FIFA player of the year award was the pick of the night.

The award was conceived by France Football’s chief magazine writer Gabriel Hanot. The award was bound to end the “Who is the best player in the world ?” debates. Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Andres Iniesta.

The Argentine attacker became the first player in history to win the Ballon d’Or four times in succession. He previously shared the record of three consecutive victories with Michel Platini, while Dutchmen Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten also won the much coveted prize three times. The Barcelona forward scored an astonishing 91 goals last year thus making him the player with the highest number of goals in a calendar year although Godfrey Chitalu of Zambia allegedly scored 107 in a single year !

What next ? Will this finally end all the debates and heated arguments between football lovers around the world ? Will it be another excuse for #TeamMessi to proclaim him “MESSIah” and confer him with the title of Greatest Ever ? Originally, journalists could only vote for European players at European clubs, meaning that players like Diego Maradona (who played in European football clubs but is not European) and Pelé (who neither played for a European club nor is European) were ineligible for the award which is why they didn’t win.

Personally, i think he shouldn’t have been named the world best player last night (or in 2010 either). Before you call for my head, i’d like to explain myself. It is without doubt that Messi is the best player we’ve Seen in the last couple of years. Last year ? He was absolutely fantastic and as usual, heads above shoulder with his nearest competitors. He made his peers seem inferior with his unbelievable feats and footballing skills but to what end i ask ?

It is often said that “The end justifies the means”. That brings us to the most important question of all. To what end ? What did his 91 goals do for his club and country ? They lost the League title to Madrid and only managed to win the Spanish League Cup. We can agree that his output didn’t really matter as they didn’t win the Uefa Champions League nor the Spanish League.

Who should have won it instead ? Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid. He was absolutely terrific last year and also did what Messi couldn’t do last year – drag his team to the finish line. He won the La Liga and Spanish Super Cup with Madrid and dragged Portugal to the Semi-finals of the Euro Cup, a major determinant in the awards nominations. Although he scored less than Messi did, his goals mattered the most. What’s more ? Messi didn’t even play at the Euros !

Barcelona and Spanish Football Faithfuls are quick to point at Messi’s overall stats as proof when asked why he deserved it over the others. They soon fall into a fit of amnesia when asked about Iniesta’s stats. Point it, you can’t just point to statistics only when adjudging who the rightful winner should have been as that would only make Iniesta’s addition seem like daylight robbery. Other factors include their individual game play and their successes with their respective teams, which exactly is why Iniesta is there, over players with ridiculous “out of this world” stats. With that in mind, you’d agree with me that Messi and Ronaldo are the best in the business solely based on their game play. What Fifa failed to look at is their contribution to the successes of their teams which is a round that Ronaldo won clearly.

Conclusively, it was another night that proved me right. Awards nowadays are highly flawed because they are by popular votes. Thank you all for listening.