Raise your hand if you believe Virgil van Dijk was robbed. Keep it up if you think we should have a recount with full disclosure of who backed who! I know even Liverpool haters agree that the best defender right now deserved it!
No offence to Messi. His stats speak for themselves, which to be honest is the purpose of this award meant to reward individual excellence but that’s beside the point because even Messi himself confessed in yet another acceptance speech that when he started out, he never thought he’d win even one, let alone six so I doubt his feelings would have been hurt if someone one else had won it.
As for those making the case that the G.O.A.T debate had to be settled once and for all, you know that’s not about to happen because somewhere in Italy, Cristiano is not sitting on his laurels.
He’s going to do everything in his power to get a sixth or even seventh and with The Euros coming up, he just might, meaning the trophy hogging will continue for probably another five or so years since neither of these two greats appears ready to retire.
Meanwhile, the window is closing for van Dijk’s teammates Sadio Mané and Mo Salah who placed 4th and 5th respectively. In the spirit of fair play, we need an equivalent of term limits to the number of Ballons d’Or a single player can win.
Winning it just once is every footballer’s dream so why not give everybody a shot? It would, of course, be difficult to gloss over stellar stats but I don’t think there would be that many complaints.
In the event that there are though, exceptions can be made in the sense that a player can be “allowed” to win the prestigious award up to three times over the course of their career but not back-to-back even when they switch clubs in subsequent Seasons. It should also be okay to have joint winners.
For instance, there’s no reason last Season’s Premier League joint top scorers and Champion League winners couldn’t have been awarded a joint prize. If Nobels are jointly awarded, so can Ballons d'Or! Going forward, we also need to adopt a juror-like system for the voting process.
To keep with the fair play theme, the panel can consist of a coach, a ref, a journalist and a neutral football fan who can then deliberate over that year’s nominees to come up with a winner.
To avoid biases, bribery and rigging, the panel can be switched every 12 months. Alternatively, the shortlisted finalists themselves can vote especially for close contests. That’s the only way to get some new names on there.
And since football is a team sport, the Ballon d’Or shouldn’t be “restricted” to strikers. Imagine if your Boss won top prize or employee of the year every single year like the rest of you contribute nothing! Not fair.
So there’s absolutely no reason why defenders or goalkeepers shouldn’t be viable contenders!