Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ballon D'Or nominees - no Frenchies or Brits and only 3 from EPL

The list for the Ballon D'Or award, award to the best European footballer, meaning the player who plays in Europe....main reason why Donovan has not won three or four of these awards....has been announced. The list:

Xabi Alonso
  Dani Alves
Iker Casillas
  Cristiano Ronaldo
Didier Drogba
(Ivory Coast)
  Samuel Eto'o
Cesc Fabregas
  Asamoah Gyan
Julio Cesar
  Miroslav Klose
Philipp Lahm
Thomas Mueller
  Arjen Robben
Bastian Schweinsteiger
  David Villa
  Carles Puyol
Andres Iniesta
  Diego Forlan
Lionel Messi
  Mesut Oezil
Wesley Sneijder

Clubs represented: Chelsea, Arsenal, Sunderland, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich (funny seeing Sunderland in this company!)

Not entirely surprising that Spain dominates the list with 7 players after winning the World Cup. Germany's surprise run boosted some of their players while runner up Holland only have 2 nominees, but then again those are the only 2 that did not try to hack their way to a title! What is striking is the traditional soccer nations - England, Italy and France have no representation! Then again when you start looking at who could have been on the list it is difficult to find a player worthy of a nomination:

England - Rooney? did not do anything at the World Cup and his start of the EPL season casts a dark shadow over last season's personal success in the EPL. Gerrard and Lampard? Again did not distinguish themselves at the World Cup. Who else? Cannot think of anyone that is even in the conversation....maybe Ashley Cole? Interesting reflection on English footballers and the EPL.

Italy and France - their players both suffer from horrendous performances at the World Cup. The only player that might have had a chance to at least make the list was Malouda, based on how he has played with Chelsea could have warranted inclusion, but he would be the 23rd best on the list...at best.

Also what is interesting is only 3 players are currently in the EPL - Drogba, Gyan and Cesc - a telling story for what is thought of as the best league in the world. The majority are in La Liga, but concentrated in 2 clubs - Barcelona and Real Madrid, only Forlan is not part of this mix playing at Atletico Madrid.

So who wins this award?

One goal = Ballon D'Or
Iniesta - Partial due success over the past few seasons with Barcelona and Spain. The fact he scored the winning goal for his country will account for a lot of the sentiment to have him win the award. Zizou won the award in 1998, in my opinion, purely based on his brace in the finals. It is hard to separate Iniesta from Xavi when it comes to their Barcelona success so that might take away some of the shine, but scoring the winning goal for a nation long associated with World Cup failure coupled with all the success at club level and you get the award.

Sneijder and Forlan - tie for second. Both will get a lot of votes for what they did in South Africa as well as for their clubs, both winning European club trophies. The Dutchman will get much deserved credit for carrying his national team to the World Cup finals, he really was the main creative catalyst for Oranje. Winning the treble with Inter Milan was no small feat. Had Holland won the World Cup he would have been the clear cut favorite for the Ballon D'Or. Forlan won the UEFA Cup (I am still going to call it that...) for Atletico Madrid, led Uruguay to a 4th place finish, netted 5 goals and picked up the Golden Ball award as best player at the World Cup. All which make him level with Sneijder in second place.

Gyan - third place for the Ghanaian. Were it not for a missed penalty kick, Gyan might be higher on this list. He almost single-handily carried his nation to a first ever World Cup semi final. For Rennes he was pivotal in allowing the club to find success in Ligue 1. To me it was his sheer will that carried Ghana over the summer and for that he should be rewarded.

Other players that could finish on the podium - Muller, Xavi and Villa.

See you on January 10th in Zurich to learn the name of the winners!


Jeff said...

What's the criteria for the award? If it's best player, it has to be Messi.

If it's still voted by the coaches - the player they'd most like to have in their team, it has to be Messi.

If it's based on the player who showed the most individual brilliance in the previous season, it has to be Messi.

GFC said...

The voting is done by team captains and coaches from across Europe. The problem with Messi is that he scored no goals in South Africa...and his team ran into a brick wall against Germany and got drubbed! I think that will lean heavily on how they view the Argentine.

Plus after his brilliance last season, where he swept all the major individual awards, he set his standard very high. Tough to repeat!

josemanes said...

Although Messi did not score any goals in the World Cup, he was a major part of Argentina's drive to the quarterfinals. He was a constant force, drawing defenders away from his teammates and he had a hand in some of the goals. Unfortunately goals were a big part of his performance at the club level, so it is seen as somewhat of a failure on the world stage that he scored none. Overall, was Messi the best player throughout the year? Probably. And he has continued to perform well since the summer. But international competition is a part of this year's consideration. And the World Cup definitely adds another dimension to the Ballon D'Or award....

GFC said...

I think the fact Messi won the award last year and he did not surpass his year - aka no goals at World Cup and team being exposed in the 1/4 finals, I just do not see him winning the award again.

philip said...

I think Diego Forlan is gonna win

Anonymous said...

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JLP said...

On WC years, the WC performance counts enormously. With the new voting format for the Ballon d'Or, I think this award will lose some of its lustre.
Now that is it a Fifa Ballon d'Or and not just a journalistic award, the Fifa's role will weigh in much more heavily. Which means the result of the WC will inevitably carry tremendous weight.
The award will therefore go to a Spaniard or to Diego Forlan (long shot)

Iniesta wins. But I agree with all your points Froggy. Would be quite unfair to see Iniesta and not Xavi win it. But Iniesta did score that goal.

I'd like to see Eto'o or Drogba win it one day.

GFC said...

Sometimes Opera has issues, just hit refresh and it should work. thanks for the note!