Sunday, November 6, 2011

The joke that is Ballon d'or!

Whatever might have been the process to arrive at the nominations, the Ballon d'or list was very disappointing, to say the least.

There was a clear message (As in the earlier years as well) - It is not the football over the last 12 months but your popularity that wins nomination. Perfect example was Eric Abidal, who received a nomination after raising the CL trophy coming back from illness. Another example was Eto'o.

Lets get the easier task out of the way - predicting the winner

The Winner - Lionel Messi

It doesn't matter that Messi is a dud playing for Argentina, a side with the attacking talent of Higuain, Tevez, Aguero.. Creativity in Di Maria, Riquelme & I am sure that I am missing a lot of names

It doesn't matter that he did this last season:

Neither that he often goes to ground easily. Messi is the darling of world football. He cannot do any wrong. Hence Winner.

How Sneijder could miss out last season still beats me! Scratch that, he couldn't make it to the top 3 .. The rest have no chance this year.

Runner Up - Ronaldo
Third - Xavi &/ Iniesta

A word on the nominations:

Full List: Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto'o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).

From the list, two clubs dominate the nominations:
Barcelona - 8
Real Madrid - 5

They are currently the best two clubs in the world, that they can be no doubt.. Ofcourse, Manchester United have a better "recent history" (the last 5 seasons) than Real Madrid.

Here's my changes to the list of 23 nominations:

Omissions I make from the current list: 

  1. Villa, really? If at all a Barca player has to be nominated, it should have been Pedro, who provided the real spark last season (Including the first goal in the Champions League finals)
  2. Eric Abidal? As discussed. 
  3. Sergio Aguero. Please Explain. 10 Points.
  4. Benzema? 20 Points for anybody who makes a half decent attempt.
  5. Muller comes in as a total surpise.. Specially considering neither Goetze or Nuri Sahin made the cut. Also Gomez scored 39 goals.. Muller, playing for the same club only scored 19
  6. Samuel Eto'o: Another one who gets the popularity vote
  7. Fabregas: Cant recollect him doing anything last season apart from sulking and being injured. Actually, that is good enough for many !
  8. Ozil: Had to put his name after some thought. Had a very good half a season but was completely missing from the crucial matches in the second half.. Probably it was the fatigue factor, but not this year, Ozil.
  9. Bastian Schweinsteiger: Bayern Munich finished 3rd in the league, Round of 16 in CL and won nothing.. Very good player, but sorry, no nomination this season

Just making the cut:

Dani Alves (He won a lot of trophies, played well & there are very few defenders in the list) , Sneijder (He should have won it the last season.. This year, he just makes the cut because of grace marks carried forward), Forlan (For his international performances)


  1. Van Persie - Is the single reason why Arsenal is still competing today
  2. Goetze - I think the only reason he does not make the list is because of that Ronaldo's quote
  3. Nuri Sahin - Bundesliga's player of the season last year
  4. Cavani - Not far behind DiNatale in terms of goals, was an inspiration to Napoli guiding them to 3rd and the Champions League place
  5. DiNatale - Top scorer for Italian league last season. Was the reason why Udinese's finished 4th
  6. Falcao - Nobody deserves to be in the list more than Falcao based on what he achieved for Porto, especially in the UEFA cup
  7. Hazard - The best player in the French league, the only reason he is not there in the list is that no bigger club has paid 40 million for his services

The list has very few defenders and/or goal keepers. So here are two who deserve to be there:

  1. Vidic - United were EPL champions and the CL finalists: They deserve 3 nominations.
  2. Manuel Nauer - The goalkeeper who should have been in the list along with Iker Cassilas

Notable Absentees
Mario Gomez (Picked Goetze and Sahin ahead of him), David Silva, Hulk

Summary - 

The best three clubs (of 2010-11) representation in my list:
Barcelona - 5 (Probably too many, but they did win the double)
Manchester United - 3
Real Madrid - 3 (+1; Sahin)

9 Changes (Plus a possible 3 more) to a squad of 23, shows how poor the Fifa nominations are.

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