There are legends of the game who are not enthralled with the Ballon d’Or award and how it’s presented.
Former Manchester United legend, Patrick Evra was critical of the award and he said, he’s sick of seeing Messi winning the award again. The same goes for Chelsea legend, Frank Leboeuf who also made an assertion that the award sounds senseless to him.
Ballon d’Or is a distinctive award for football players who are considered exceptionally good for the club(s) and the country they represent for the period of a calendar year.
In recent years, there were winners that stirred up controversies, some football enthusiasts were mystified and unconvinced with the actual winner of the prestigious award. Luka Modric won the award in 2018 but some football fans were not convinced that he was a deserved winner.
An award of this magnitude isn’t decided by one person but it’s unanimously considered and concluded through voting. The eligible voters are national team coaches, national team captains, and some selected/special journalists.
In the last twenty years, two players stood out and they’ve been dominating the football scenes with their unmatched performances they’re Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. Lionel is truly a lion of football in the past couple of years, he has scooped 6 Ballon d’Or laurels while Cristiano Ronaldo has won it on five occasions.
This year’s Ballon d’Or award has been throwing people’s minds in confusion including pundits and former players of the game. Some players are counted worthy for the award because of their crystal individual performances for both club and country while some are not considered worthy of being on the list due to their country/club below per performance.
Former Chelsea center-back, Frank Leboeuf has been quibbling about the Ballon d’Or organizers for giving an award to an individual player in a sport that is considered a team effort.
Leboeuf disproved the award, fault-finding its concept and calling it ‘stupid’. Frank supported his claims with an example by comparing the Ballon d’Or to musical awards, claiming that if a star musician receives an individual award, his band will not be the most elated.
He alluded that the Ballon d’Or does have an identical effect on football teams and their players whose efforts are not remembered.
Through an interview with ESPN, Frank Leboeuf reiterated that the idea of Ballon d’Or in its entirety sounded stupid and doesn’t make sense to him.
“I don’t really care about that. Musicians have an award every year. What if during the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, let’s say John Lennon or Mick Jagger won a personal award for their year of being the greatest musician or singer’ How would the Beatles react to that’ That’s the same thing for me. That’s stupid.’
‘That’s really stupid to give a personal, individual award into a collective sport. Like it would be stupid to give John Lennon when he was belonging to the Beatles an award only for himself. That’s what I think about the Ballon d’Or. It doesn’t make any sense to me,’ said Frank Leboeuf”.
There are 64 recognizable winners of the awards since 1956. Apart from a six-year merger between 2009 and 2015 with FIFA, the Ballon d’Or has been a separate individual award presented by France Football.
The 2020 edition of Ballon d’Or was regrettably canceled due to the unbudgeted coronavirus pandemic. The virus put the football activities on hold and the pause in world football in March 2020 brought uncertainty to the game.
There were doubts whether scheduled games would be played or if the season would be finished or not. This led to the cancellation of the award by the organizers. They revealed the reason it would not be conducted was due to the “lack of a sufficiently level playing field” caused by the virus. They added: “We did not want to put an indelible asterisk on the award”
“Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such a prize also means guaranteeing its irreproachability over time.”
Had it been it wasn’t canceled, Bayern Munich goal poacher, Robert Lewandowski was the favorite for the accolade. There are 30 shortlist of players remaining but these are 15 new contenders for the award in 2021;
- Cesar Azpilicueta(Spain/Chelsea),
- Nicolo Barella (Italy/Inter Milan)
- Giorgio Chiellini (Italy/Juventus)
- Ruben Dias (Portugal/Manchester City)
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy/Paris Saint-Germain)
- Bruno Fernandes (Portugal/Manchester United)
- Phil Foden (England/Manchester City)
- Erling Haaland (Norway/Borussia Dortmund)
- Jorginho (Italy/Chelsea)
- Simon Kjaer (Denmark/AC Milan)
- Romelu Lukaku (Belgium/Chelsea)
- Lautaro Martinez (Argentina/Inter Milan)
- Gerard Moreno (Spain/Villarreal)
- Mason Mount (England/Chelsea)
- Pedri (Spain/Barcelona).
The list would be trimmed down to 3 candidates later. Messi, who’s very instrumental for his country during the Copa America tournament looked like a favorite to win the BallonDior award for the record 7th time.