“Football fans, apart from Messi, Argentina, and Barcelona fanboys, are not convinced with the award given to him. Awards are for the best performers and Messi had not been that last season. The prestige of Ballon D’Or has been dented”


Famous sportswriter Gabriel Hanot is credited for originating the thought of Ballon D’Or, which was based on voting by football journalists, from 1956 to 2006. After 2007, coaches and captains of national teams were also given the right to vote. Until 1995, it was an award for players from Europe. In 1995 the Ballon d’Or was expanded to include all players from any origin that have been active at European clubs. The award became a global prize in 2007 with all professional footballers from around the world being eligible.

Ballon D’Or is one of football’s oldest and respected awards. It is awarded by France Football. It started its journey since 1956. Between 2010 and 2015, an agreement was made with FIFA and the award and for which the award was temporarily merged with FIFA World Player of the Year, and known as the FIFA Ballon d’Or. However, the partnership ended in 2016. The award reverted to the Ballon d’Or, while FIFA also reverted to its own separate annual award.

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International Football Awards are highly prestigious. For the fans all across the globe, they have always demanded a huge attraction and commanded respect due to their fair judgments most of the time. We can’t deny, doubts surrounded by few events, but those became irrelevant when the ideal players lifted the awards on numerous occasions.

Fairness in judgment and presenting right players the awards have always made UEFA, FIFA and Ballon D’Or highly respected to all. And, over the last two decades or so, Ballon D’Or remains one of the most coveted awards for footballers.

But sadly, this year’s Ballon d’Or fails to convince the neutrals. All know, Lionel Messi, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best footballers of this generation, but if anyone considers Messi’s performance in last season – the basis on which such awards are given – neither Messi deserves to win the FIFA nor the Ballon d’Or.

Awards are awarded to the winners and not those, who choke under pressure and have been choking for a brief period of time now. In national colours Messi has always failed to deliver when it mattered the most. He was supposed to deliver Argentina the national trophy in this year’s Copa America but after failing miserably and digesting a red card in the third-place play-off match against Chile, Messi ended up blaming the Officials about cheating, whereas he forgot Argentina’s history wrongdoings.

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Even at Club level Mesis can be considered a big failure. Apart from winning the La Liga – certainly an award cannot be based on winning a mere League title only – he choked big time in Europe’s big stage,  the UEFA Champions League. The ghosts of Rome revisited at Anfield as the Catalans were knocked out of the tournament. Since Neymar left Barcelona, Messi’s conquest of winning a Champions League remains a mere dream. In fact, according to man, he could not have won the Champions League at the start of this decade without Xavi and Iniesta.

Since 2015-16 until now, in the knockout stages of Champions League, Messi has scored just two goals with zero assist. He participated in three global events within this period and remained a big flop.

If anyone considers last season, then Messi does not even come closer to someone like Virgil van Dijk (VVD), Cristiano Ronaldo or Alisson Becker.

Cristiano Ronaldo had been the winner of Italian Serie A and UEFA Nations League. He won titles for both the club and country.  In 2018, let alone 2019, Cristiano scored 49 goals, which is more than Messi in 2019 (45), with a better ratio (0.94 to 0.85). Cristiano also scored 15 goals in the Champions League, more than Messi (12). In the UEFA Nations League, he scored and helped Portugal to win the title, whereas Messi was again a failure in national colours at Copa America. In 2019, Cristiano has more goals for club and country than Messi.

Then there is someone called Alisson Becker, who won the Champions League, Copa America and best goalkeeper award at UEFA, FIFA and Ballon d’Or. Surprisingly, he was not even considered at the top 5.

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Such awards have no respect towards the keepers as in 2013-14, someone like Manuel Nuer deserved it more than Cristiano. Also, Iker Casillas could have been a strong contender in 2009-10. But the goalkeepers are always left in cold.

Above all, last season,  VVD had been in a God-like-mode. He went all of last season without being dribbled past by an opposition player — making it to 50 games before Nicolas Pepe officially ended the astonishing streak. He completely neutralized Messi at Anfield while Harry Kane at Madrid, whereas, at the Premier League hardly anyone could pose a threat to VVD’s solid defending.

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Also, VVD stepped up to provide crucial assists and score goals whenever his team needed it. He ended the season as the winner of the Champions League and runner-up at the UEFA Nations League.

Again, VVD, had been the highest-ranked defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. The highest-ranked Premier League player since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2008.

If anyone deserved to win the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Best Player Award then it should have been none other than Virgil van Dijk.


Football fans, apart from Messi, Argentina, and Barcelona fanboys, are not convinced with the award given to him. Awards are for the best performers and Messi had not been that last season. The prestige of Ballon d’Or has been dented.

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