The Credibility of Ballon D’or Fractured #1336

The credibility of the Ballon d’Or was hanging on by a shoestring before the 2021 ceremony. The error of their ways has been abundantly clear over the last couple of years. Not just necessarily talking about the incorrect winner of the award but the voting order and certain things that honestly should not be taken into account. About three years ago, I wrote an article on this subject in 2018 when Luka Modric was awarded the Ballon d’Or. Just to clarify, I did not have a problem with him getting the award because it was earned, and he deserved it. At the time, the question was whether or not he would be most deserving in 2018, something that I disagreed with even though I didn’t have a huge problem with him being awarded the honor. Looking back at the 2018 Ballon d’Or, there is no legitimate argument attached to Luka Modric; it had extraordinary circumstances with him taking Croatia to a World Cup final, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, and being the best midfielder or one of the best midfielders in the world. It is inaccurate to say he didn’t deserve it, but there are certain questions about whether he was the most deserving. However, thinking back to 2018, I don’t feel fraudulent vibes attached to it even though they probably got it wrong. In that article, I broke down some of the reasons why the Ballon d’Or was losing credibility and some of the issues that I indeed had with it. It is now 2021, and I have the same conversation that I did three years ago. It’s been losing credibility for many years, but I think we have reached a Breaking Point. The Ballon d’Or should not be taken seriously any longer; it’s lost that credibility. Lionel Messi is the greatest player ever, but 2020 and 2021 belong to Robert Lewandowski; he quite easily could be sitting here with 2 Ballon d’Or; instead, he has none. This isn’t to minimize Lionel Messi over the past year; he certainly did enough to win it in most years, but not in 2021; this was as cut-and-dry as any year that I’ve ever seen. He should have won this convincingly, not to say, Lionel Messi, Karim Benzema, Mohamed Salah, and others aren’t great. Still, the last two years have belonged to Robert Lewandowski; the great Johan Cruyff once said the Ballon d’Or is just a bunch of journalists voting for their friends. The anger about the situation isn’t directed at Lionel Messi; it is directed at the system of the Ballon d’Or and some of the problems that still exist within here three years later. There have been no changes whatsoever I might even be making the same arguments. Still, in the last three years, it’s actually gotten worse, and I’m going to explain why.

Leo Messi is the GOAT but 2021 Didn’t Belong to him

Lionel Messi is by all accounts the greatest player in football history; he is the Undisputed goat. I don’t think there’s a legitimate argument for anyone else other than maybe Johan Cruyff. He is one of the most dominant athletes of all time; he does things with the ball, but other players can’t do; he’s able to do unexplainable things, and he continues to be an absolute monster and a dominant Force in World football and has continually done that even as he gets older. He created such a gap from everyone else in football history that he is uncatchable; there will never be another Lionel Messi; he is the greatest player we will ever see. I can even go a step further just so you can feel my validity on this subject; many people tend to make arguments between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as far as who the goat is. I find those sorts of things very ridiculous because between those two; there’s no comparison or no debate to be had. Lionel Messi is clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, and it’s not even close. However, even though Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time, the Ballon d’Or is not his god-given right because of his status in football history. Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or six times the majority of the times he has won this award it has been thoroughly deserved. There are only two years in Messi’s run at the top that I think there are questions about whether or not he deserved it in 2010. Although it was a close call for me, Inesita should have won, I would have picked the Inesita. In 2019 there’s a lot of conversation about whether or not Lionel Messi should have won the award against Virgil Van Dijk it was a conversation to be had, but Lionel Messi was the best player during that year even though it was discussed by many. The only other time to my knowledge, that Lionel Messi took the Ballon d’Or from someone is Robert Lewandowski in 2021. I will break down Robert’s act in this a little later, but it was expected, but Robert Lewandowski should have won this award, and it should not have been close. Lionel Messi had a great season, unbelievable. Barcelona won the Copa del Rey with one of the worst Barcelona sides ever put together and ended up in the title race until the very end. Ultimately, Atletico Madrid beat them to the punch. He also won the Copa America with Argentina, something Lionel Messi had been striving for such a long time. However, just because he’s had a great season does not mean he deserves this award every year; this was a year in particular that Robert Lewandowski should have beaten him. Messi ends up with his 7th Ballon d’Or at a different time. I will be happier for him, but at this current moment, it’s impossible for my brain even to go there because in my heart of hearts I know he didn’t deserve it, and I think the majority of people that are saying that he did even they know this one belonged to Robert. The Nostalgia, the image of Lionel Messi, persuaded far too many people to take something away from Robert Lewandowski that he may not have an opportunity to get again. In 2020 and 2021, Robert Lewandowski was the best player in the world in what turned out to be a very corrupt 2021 Ballon d’Or; they gave it to Lionel Messi on reputation alone, maybe because he won with Argentina, but there are missing components from that you cannot give it to Lionel Messi just because he’s the greatest there will ever be.

The Voting System is Corrupt

The voting system is also quite corrupt and toxic. Johan Cruyff’s quote captures it perfectly a lot of journalists who are given voting privileges abuse it by voting for their friends. There has to be some unbiased nature about making decisions like these. In the grand scheme of things, I’m not just talking about the winner of the Ballon d’Or; I am talking about the voting and the order of this year’s selections in Prior years as well. For example, in 2018, Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane finished ahead of Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah. I could break down about 10 to 12 different issues with the order of the list. It’s not only that there are too many nominees, and yet they still managed to screw it up with the likes of Mendy, Muller, Kimmich, and others not even among the nominees. There should be ten nominees, 15 at the tops, but it all goes back to the people casting the votes with preferences. You cannot have a preference if you’re going to make a decision that will dictate football history. Why does French football get to decide the most prestigious individual award in the biggest sport on the planet? I am not denying that there are those on French football and journalists making the right decisions, but as a whole, there are too many people who are not making decisions based on what they see. Decisions based on reputation others make decisions based on who they like and who their friends are with the formula in which the voting is cast is an unbalanced system, and it’s a broken system. Why does French football alone get to make this level of decision that affects football history? The question is why this doesn’t make sense to me; it’s hard for my brain to even try to capture that essence. Those who deserve votes to balance the playing field make sure there’s no fixing involved in all of this. If you are a fanboy of a particular player and you’re voting for them, that is corruption fixing the award, and I’m sure plenty of voters are doing exactly that. I’m not saying I have the perfect solution, but I can level the playing field and fix part of the problem. The coaches of the champions league teams should all get a vote; in addition to that, I think players in La Liga Serie A, the Premier League, and the Bundesliga should all get votes as well. They would have to be some regulation on players voting for their teammates. However, if allowed to happen, we would have a more justifiable ranking, and the right winner would have been chosen tonight. It is unrealistic for us to put our full trust in French football when we very well know those voting are not making their decisions on objectivity. Let the coaches vote and let the players in the top five leagues vote; the ceremony is already corrupt and should not be taken seriously; but if we legitimately want to fix the issues that currently exist with the ceremony, we have to expand the people that are allowed to vote opening it up to everyone at least within the top five leagues, as well as the managers, will give us a better perception of the final results. The way they handle Voting just needs to change football’s biggest individual prize is being determined by those who have a particular agenda. It’s not to fault Lionel Messi for winning his 7th it is the fault of the vindictive people involved in determining the Ballon d’Or; there are a lot of issues with all of this, but I think it starts and ends with the voting and the motivation behind some of those casting their votes. The mishandling of this is a big problem, and it needs to be fixed police the people voting and allow coaches and players to cast votes; believe me when I say this if coaches of the top five leagues and players of the top five leagues we’re able to vote in the Ballon d’Or the winner of the Ballon d’Or would be someone different.

The Ballon D’or Is an Induvial Award; Team Success is irrelevant

The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the best player in the world in the year. I’m giving you the definition of the award because some people still don’t understand and can’t grasp the concept. This award is not given out to the player with the most trophies. It’s also not given out to the player that won something with their national team. Winning the Euros and winning the Copa America has absolutely nothing to do with who was the best player in 2021. That also goes with the Champions League Ngolo Kante skyrocketed up the Ballon d’Or rankings on the sole basis that he won the Champions League and was one of their most influential players as Chelsea got their hands on the trophy. However, the French midfielder was not one of the best in the world the entire duration of 2021; he came on strong in the second half of the season and was very influential and won the Champions League; however, his individual play is not enough to catapult him up to the top 5 considering he did not have that form the entire season. The same thing goes for Jorginio; for whatever reason finished third even though he wasn’t a top 10 or top 15 player in the world in 2021; he also won the Champions League and was great at the European championships, but just like Ngolo Kante, he came on late and did not show his consistency he showed late in the season the entire year. Lionel Messi won the Copa America for the first time in his career, finally winning for Argentina in a beautiful and insightful emotional moment that he had been waiting for a long time. There’s no one out there that didn’t appreciate what Leo Messi did at the Copa America. He put together perhaps the very best campaign at that tournament of all time. However, winning the Copa America doesn’t catapult you to the top either. The Ballon d’Or is a very individual award. From my criteria, only in special circumstances does Champions League success for international success matter in the grand scheme of things. First and foremost, it comes down to what you have done in the year individually, how much consistency as far as impact and influence on the team they play for, and all of that. Do they still finish that high up in the voting if you remove the Champions League trophies from Kante and Jorgino and the Copa America from Lionel Messi? The answer is no. Lionel Messi, in that situation, is probably finishing second because he still was world-class in one of the best players in the world but just wasn’t better than Robert Lewandowski. The reason that’s likely the reason that he won would be because of the Copa America if you take those trophies away from those players, they’re not finishing as high up in the voting as they did. Think about this award and what it stands for and what it’s supposed to project its individual Brilliance determining who the best player in the world is it’s not a science you don’t need to win the Champions League, the Euros or the Copa America. If you’re not in that conversation before those tournaments, then you shouldn’t be in it after the tournament. There is an exception to the rule; in 2018 Luka Modric won the Ballon d’Or; he took Croatia, a country of four million people, to the World Cup final over Brazil, Belgium, Argentina, Germany, and so many others. Luka Modric also won the Champions League and was one of the best midfielders in the world that season if not the best. Getting Croatia to World Cup final that they were not supposed to be in allowed him to win the award; the difference is going into that tournament, Croatia had no chance of making the final, and him being so influential in that happening allows him to win the award that’s a special situation where I’m willing to concede counting International football but outside of that if you’re not taking a small country further than ever imagined then it just does not matter if you won the Champions League Euros the Copa America these are team trophies they have absolutely nothing to do with who the best player in the world is. You do not need an international trophy, a Champions League trophy to prove, or Justify being the best player in the world; if you do, you were never a candidate to begin with. I’m sorry to disappoint you; even though the Ballon d’Or has handled this aspect very poorly, it is an individual award, so what you have done beyond that is just not irrelevant.

France Football’s Criteria Needs to be Public

It is quite clear there is a certain level of corruption when it comes to many things that have to do with determining the Ballon d’Or. The criteria of the top players and coaches could be different from France football criteria and my criteria to be completely different from somebody else. When it comes to criteria, it is a particular evaluation from a personal perspective. They were getting things wrong it’s been a messed up situation, and this is slightly corrupted on how they have conducted this award and the ceremony in recent years. However, even though there are many issues here that need to be fixed, let’s just start with one thing at a time. If they’re going to continue to be the only ones voting, France football needs to release a statement detailing very specifically what their criteria are for this award. If the criteria of the Ballon d’Or is public knowledge, and we understand what we’re getting into. Robert Lewandowski was the best player in the world in the last two years; you could argue maybe the last three years. However, our expectations could be set at a reasonably calm level if we knew what they were looking for. It would be able to handle a lot of the pushback from the final conclusion of the ceremony us; having that knowledge doesn’t make their decisions any better or worse, but at least we’re aware of what they’re looking for if we’re not aware of what the criteria is from their perspective it makes it very difficult to determine a lot of different things when it comes to the ceremony and the award. As I said, criteria are different, and it’s based on personal perspective, but if there was a legitimate detail surrounding what they look for it would make the situation more justifiable again; the Ballon d’Or ceremony and France football are getting so many things wrong, and it’s distasteful, but at least if we had the information we could be aware of where they’re coming from when they make these ridiculous decisions. They need to release a piece of detailed public information about the criteria that they are looking for when it comes to the Ballon d’Or even if they’re wrong, at least we would have knowledge about that hiding this from the public just leaves more into the corruption of this award and the lack of trust when it comes to all of this.

Jorginho,Donnaruma, Ronaldo over Haaland and Mbappe? Seriously

I’m going to quickly break down everything they have gotten wrong at this year’s 2021 Ballon d’Or before I explain why Robert Lewandowski should have won it. I’m going to try to skim through this and break these down very quickly because there’s kind of a lot of them. Among the 30 nominees, I have a problem with around 15 decisions surrounding the ceremony. I’m going to start with this Thomas Muller, Florian Wirtz and Kimmich, Goretza, and Mendy all failed to be included in the shortlist. This is absolutely ridiculous. Caesar, Nicolo Barella, Gerard Morrero are all fine. Ruben Diaz should have been slightly higher, considering he came in, changed the Manchester City defense, and took them to a Champions League semi-final while handling some of the best players in Europe. Phil Foden deserves to be on this list, but that is a little high. I’m good with Pedri, Harry Kane, Lataro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes, Riyad mahrez, Mason mount, Simon kajer and Luis Suarez. I may not agree with the order of that list, but those names are more or less in the right spot of this list, even though I would probably flip around the order. Neymar at 16th is absolutely ridiculous. I’m not going to go into this too much, but performances against Bayern Munich were absolutely electric. Throughout their Champions League campaign, there’s no doubt that he should be significantly higher. I’m not going to say how much higher, but definitely closer to the top 10 embarrassing to have him at 16 ridiculous. Moving on, Raheem Sterling is a little high; I don’t have a huge issue with it, but it does seem a little high. Leonardo bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, and romelu Lukaku are all or more or less in the right places. At number 11, we have erling haaland this one is Beyond unforgivable. Considering the names I’ve not mentioned, erling haaland won a trophy with Dortmund last year winning the German cup; he also was one of the top scorers in the league he also scored about 40 goals; you’re telling me Jorginio had a better season individually than erling haaland are you having a laugh? He definitely should have been in the top 10; you could even argue he deserves to be in the top five; that’s how good he was last season, so we’re just going to completely disregard the fact that he was dominant All Season because a couple of guys have a couple more trophies ridiculous. Gigi donnarumma also have a big problem with is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, but he’s not the best goalkeeper in the world; he’s getting extra credit because he won the European Championship with Italy; you’re telling me Mbappe was not as good as him in 2021 out of order. Mbappe in 9th should have been higher. I don’t know how much, but it definitely should have been higher, no question about it. Kevin De bruyne, I’m fine with Mohamed Salah is too low considering you have some like Cristiano Ronaldo in front of him. Cristiano Ronaldo has not been a dominant player since his first season at Juventus. He does not take over games by himself, and a lot of the time, he does not put a full 90 minutes of world-class play together. He is defined by sequences of moments. That’s the big thing here. Yet he’s finishing ahead of Mohamed Salah, okay, France football, okay. The top five rounds up with Ngolo Kante; this is a difficult one, certainly a little high, but I can live with him in the top five. Karim Benzema in 4th is just stupid; he’s the second-best striker in the world outside of Robert Lewandowski and is one of the most dominant in the world; he is a scoring machine and has been the difference-maker for Real Madrid for many years and was especially significant last season he should only be maybe one or two spots higher but 4th it’s not so much that he’s in fourth it’s so much of who they put in front of him that I have a problem with. Jorginio in 3rd potentially one of the most ridiculous things in recent time; at no point in 2021 was he one of the best midfielders in the world; he had a fantastic 2021; he won some trophies, he won the euros, and he won the Champions League, but you cannot tell me that he was the third-best player in the world certainly not better than Benzema and a lot of the players I just listed he’s an excellent player but just stop not even France football believe that. Then obviously the biggest issue is number one. Lionel Messi winning the Ballon d’Or over Robert Lewandowski is one of the most absurd things I’ve seen in recent times. This should have been a cakewalk for the Polish International, but because Messi ended up winning an international trophy, it totally discounts the entire are the totality of 2021. As you can see, the Ballon d’Or voting is a freaking mess.

Robert Lewandowski Robbed: What Else Could he have done?

It turned out to be an incredibly tragic evening. It’s not even about Lionel Messi none of this was in his control whatsoever. Lionel Messi should be happy, and I will congratulate him on furthering his claim as the undisputed greatest of all time in football history; he will never be caught, but the final result was disingenuous this evening. Clearly, we are dealing with a broken system that needs changing; the Ballon d’Or lost its credibility tonight because the Ballon d’Or is an incredibly rare honor that only a fair few have ever received, yet they took a moment away from the man who deserved it. For the second year in a row, Robert Lewandowski sees his dreams sabotaged by the Ballon d’Or voters knowing very well he deserved it yet not allowing it to happen. This is another reason that things need to change even though they probably won’t. The Ballon d’Or is awarded to the greatest player on the planet for the year 2021. It is not about narratives; it is not about trophies or team accomplishments; what happens in the Euros Champions League or World Cup has nothing to do with who was the best player in the world. Robert Lewandowski has been the best player in the world for the last two years; that is not debatable, and it’s not even close. He has scored 111 goals in the last two seasons, not to mention the nearly 30 goals he already has the season. In 2020 he scored 50 goals and won the treble with Bayern Munich; he scored 17 goals in the Champions League during the pandemic many of those games were one leg. Had it been a double-legged tie, he could have doubled it. It was one of the best individual campaigns the champions league has ever seen. There’s no debating who would have won it in 2020; even Lionel Messi has acknowledged and urges France football to give him Robert the award for 2020 anyways. Last season Bayern Munich was on the verge of back-to-back Champions League titles. Injury to Robert Lewandowski ruined it. Had he never gotten injured, Bayern Munich would have won the trophy again. PSG ended up knocking them down, but Robert Lewandowski was unavailable for both of those games. In only 29 games in the Bundesliga, Robert Lewandowski broke a record that stood for 49 years when Gerd Muller scored 40 goals in the Bundesliga in 1985; he did it in 40 games. Robert Lewandowski broke a record that in German culture felt unassailable no one thought it would ever be broken. Robert Lewandowski was able to pull it off in 29 games scoring in the last seconds of the season to break the record 41 goals in the Bundesliga 49 goals in all competitions; he was incredible in the Bundesliga prior to his injury, and the injury to Robert Lewandowski changed the winner of the Champions League Chelsea have won the European Cup in their trophy cabinet, not two if Robert Lewandowski does not get injured. Robbing him of this is an absolute travesty; he should have won the Ballon d’Or, and it wasn’t very close, yet France football felt the need to Rob him of this honor. This award is purely given to the best player in 2021; there is no doubt that that is Robert Lewandowski. He is operated at a higher level than Lionel Messi for the last 2 years while they play different positions. Robert Lewandowski has just been a class above everyone else. I had a feeling that they would ruin it and steal this from him, but the moment I saw it happen, it was truly heartbreaking. Robert Lewandowski very well could be sitting with two ballon doors; instead, he has none. As great as Lionel Messi is, and what he did with Barcelona last year is incredible, but it certainly does not overpower Robert Lewandowski. The most tragic thing about all this is Awards like this can determine how certain players are perceived for the Next Generation. We will remember this and know that Robert Lewandowski deserved the Ballon d’Or in 2020 and 2021, but the Next Generation who did not see what this incredible man has done will not be able to take it from memory. Now because of this, the kids of the Next Generation will not regard Robert Lewandowski in the way that he deserves to be perceived because they wouldn’t give him the Ballon d’Or the kids of the future don’t know this we definitely do. Still, the thing is, with history travels it will not remember Robert Lewandowski the way football could have. He will be one of the 15 to 20 greatest players ever, yet they would not give him the two Ballon d’Or he deserves. This is a completely tragic day as Robert Lewandowski is unable to claim it. They should just be ashamed of what they have done. Robert Lewandowski has been the best player in World football the last two seasons, and he won’t even get knowledged for it. I urge French football to listen and reason with Lionel Messi and, at the very least, give him the 2020 Ballon d’Or that he would have won. The great Johan Cruyff says the Ballon d’Or is just a bunch of journalists voting for their friends. Winning Copa America and the Euros is irrelevant that does not dictate who’s the best player in the world was for anybody; what else did he need to do? What more could we possibly ask of him? He was the best player in the Champions League; he was the best player in Germany; he was the best player in the world, but that’s not good enough for some reason Lionel Messi has six Ballon d’Or he did not need the 7th even though he picked it up. What else could he have done to deserve it? He has done everything that was asked; he checks all the boxes, yet he leaves tonight empty-handed he did everything to prove and show he has been the world’s best, but none of it matters, and now he’s leaving with nothing.

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