Ballon D’Or: Thinking Outside Of The Obvious Choices


Sometimes credit is not given where it is due, and other times its partly the media’s emphasis on singular players instead of a widespread look at who is excelling in world football. If you haven’t already noticed, the constant argument between who the best in the world is between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is fueled heavily by media attention for both of them in the battle of the Ballon D’Or. It’s an ongoing battle of numbers, records broken, trophies won, honors and plenty of other things that cloud fans perspectives of who could contest with the two.

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The truth is, in my opinion I believe a lot of players can. Perhaps there are very few or no players that can compete with them on the level of “best in the world”, but there are surely players in world football that can compete and should compete with them for the Ballon D’or, an award that most fans, journalists and critics alike would consider the pinnacle of individual success for a footballer.

July 13, 2014; Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL; Brazil president Dilma Vana Rousseff (wearing green) and FIFA president Sepp Blatter (second from right) present the world cup trophy to Germany defender Philipp Lahm (16) after defeating Argentina and winning the 2014 World Cup at Maracana Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport via USA TODAY Sports

Recently UEFA President, Micheal Plantini insisted that this year a German player from the World Cup winning squad should win the Ballon D’or over the likes of obvious choices, Messi and Ronaldo.

As reported on, the former France star believes that the award should reflect the likes of a player who has had massive influence on a tournament they may have won. But of course, he is not discounting the possibility that Messi and Ronaldo should compete as well, and why they do.

“I don’t vote for the Ballon d’Or but, in principle, [in a World Cup year] it’s a player who has produced big performances in the tournament who wins it, so, it should be a German this year”.

Plantini’s comments should be noted, as the last time a player who won the World Cup received this award (which before 2010 was considered the “FIFA Player Of The Year”, which merged into the Ballon D’or in 2010) was Italian Fabio Cannavaro. This was when Italy won the World Cup in 2006, which was 8 years ago. He was also the first defender in the history of the award to claim the title.

Jan 9, 2013; Barcelona, SPAIN; Lionel Messi poses with his four Ballon d

The only other two players in the awards history (since 1991) whom played a position which was not forward or striker was Luis Figo in 2001 and Lothar Matthäus in 1991. This furthers the idea that the German national squad should surely be heavy competitors. The likes of Philip Lahm, Manuel Neuer or Thomas Muller were leaders in being extremely influential in Germany’s win this past summer and goals were a bonus not asset to their performances.  And isn’t the World Cup the most prestigious and difficult competition in football anyway?

This weekend during the Tottenham/ Manchester City match, commentator Arlo White claimed that Sergio Aguero has the capability to challenge Messi and Ronaldo for this award. And certainly he does; his problems lie in chronic injury, but it should not be discounted that Kun Aguero has been one of the most influential forwards Manchester City have.

His presence on the pitch between injury has always been useful and entertaining. His outstanding performance against the North London club this weekend proved that when he is in form, he is absolutely unstoppable, scoring 4 goals to seal the game. Considering the English Premier League is considered one of the toughest leagues to play in, especially for forwards as defensively it is on another level. His record is fantastic, especially only after 4 years with the club.

“Agüero surged ahead of Carlos Tévez (with 58) to become City’s record goalscorer in the Premier League with 61 goals. It is 10 in 10 matches overall this season for Agüero, who further improved a goals-per-minute record that is the best the Premier League has ever seen.” As reported by the

May 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (16) attempts to get past Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel (12) at Busch Stadium. Manchester City defeated Chelsea 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, probably the most underrate striker until his arrival in Paris should be a fierce competitor for this award. The achievements he has done in the wake of Paris St Germain’s current success somehow goes unnoticed all to often. He has led the club to 2 consecutive Ligue 1 titles since his arrival in 2012–he has also broken the all time goal scoring record in Ligue 1 as well.

If he retires without winning a prestige such as this, he will absolutely go down as Swedens all time best and Ligue 1’s most important player ever. His influence on PSG is stunning when one looks at the numbers, trophies and triumphs the club has done in the last 3 seasons. Internationally Zlatan recently broke the all time goal scoring record, which stood at 82 years old and his legacy stood as the “3rd best player in the world” in 2013 by The Guardian.

Yet he hardly even made the cut during last years competition. His hinderance, many say is his inability to win the Champions League, but he has won domestic trophies and league titles in four different countries as well as he is the most unique player alive. His track record in football is like no other, he is truly outstanding.



Thus, who wins?  Fans certainly don’t, because we will somehow never see a shift in the worlds best, unless we decrease the emphasis on two particular players.

Unfortunately, sometimes we forget to watch the incredible successes of other brilliant talent around Europe and the world, especially with the dazzle of the Ballon D’or blinding us from seeing, there are other greats out there besides Messi and Ronaldo.