Does Sergio Aguero Deserve Ballon d’Or Consideration?


Last week Playing for 90 writer Lauren Maharaj wrote a great article pointing out some of the flaws with regards to the Ballon d’Or award.  Her main point was that there are other great footballers in the world besides Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who deserve consideration.

This past weekend during the Manchester City / Tottenham Hotspur match, NBCSN announcer Arlo White commented that City striker Sergio Aguero is putting himself into the conversation for the Ballon d’Or, especially after netting all four goals against Spurs on Saturday. 

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So this got me asking myself, does Kun Aguero as well as others deserve to be part of the Ballon d’Or conversation?

First of all, of course there are other superb soccer players in the world and Messi and Ronaldo do not have a monopoly on the “Great Footballers” square.  But at the current moment, there is Messi and there is Ronaldo and then there is a drop-off and then come the rest of the greats.

My second point is that even though players like Aguero deserve to at least be considered, there appears to be a major bias by FIFA against players in the English Premier League.  I am not breaking news but history tells me that FIFA puts the EPL on a lower pedestal than La Liga and the Bundesliga.

If we are to look at the Ballon d’Or FIFA FIFPro World XI where FIFA picks their top 11 from around the world, in the past five years, only six of the 55 players have come from the EPL.  The last players to make the starting 11 were Wayne Rooney and Nemanja Vidic back in 2011. The majority of these spots are given to players in Spain, specifically from Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In its current format (since 2010), no EPL player has been nominated for the Ballon d’Or award.  Before the award merged with the FIFA Player of the Year award, the last EPL player to take home the award was Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008 back when he played in Manchester United.  Before that Michael Owen won it in 2001 and before him it was George Best in 1968.

The FIFA Player of the Year award was only once awarded to an EPL player, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008.

Look, I cannot make a reasonable argument that the Premier League has the best players in the world.  It may be the most exciting league with the most parody and the greatest narratives, but it is hard to argue that the best of the best players are in England.  The three nominees last year were Messi, Ronaldo, and Frank Ribery.  Can you honestly tell me that anyone was more deserving than any of those nominees? Was anyone from the EPL more deserving?

So maybe there is a bias against the EPL, or maybe it is more simple than that; the best players in the world are not playing in England.

Photo courtesy of Twitter @MCFC

So in the end, no, Sergio Aguero or any other top player in the EPL does not deserve to win the Ballon d’Or.

Messi and Ronaldo are clearly the two best and will likely continue to have a stranglehold on the award for the upcoming years.  If the rumors were to be true, which I don’t think they are, and Ronaldo was to make a move back to United, then maybe an EPL player could win, but until that happens, the best players are currently in Spain.

Does this mean that other players do not deserve to at least be considered?  Of course other players should always be included in the conversation and one day another player will win the award,  just not this year.

Aguero is a great footballer and one of my personal favorites, but is he better than Messi, Ronaldo, Ribery, Neymar, Gareth Bale, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Arjen Robben, Paul Pogba, and Manuel Neuer just to name a few? Probably not.

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Is he the best player in the EPL or even the best player on his own team?

Kun may be a great goal scorer, one of the best in recent EPL history, but I personally believe that David Silva and Vincent Kompany are more vital to City’s success than Aguero is. I would be willing to argue that Pablo Zabaleta could also be considered above Aguero.  Last season City managed to win the title even though Aguero spent a large portion of the season injured.

So yes, I agree that players like Aguero who make their living over in England deserve to be considered for the Ballon d’Or, but consideration is as much as they deserve.

Even though I am partial to the EPL and prefer it over the other leagues in Europe, it is hard to argue against the writing already on the wall.  Whether you think FIFA has a bias against the EPL or you simply believe that the best players are in the other European leagues, the race for the Ballon d’Or will once again come down to Messi and Ronaldo.

Yes, other players should be considered, but who are we kidding, no one in the world right now, in any league, is better than those two.  That’s the way it is.