FIFA have today announced the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award, and as promised it has revealed just how much England underperformed at the World Cup, but perhaps surprisingly it suggests a power shift away from the Premier League.
In all honesty nobody could say they are surprised to see not one English player nominated for the award. There were easily twenty-three better players at the World Cup, and while Wayne Rooney starred for Manchester United during the first half of the year, his form has drastically deteriorated since. Rooney aside there have been no other stand-out English players this year.
But it is certainly surprising to see just three players nominated from the Premier League, when you compare it to 11 nominated from La Liga, five from the Bundesliga and four from Serie A. Didier Drogba, Cesc Fabregas and Asamoah Gyan all received nominations, but were there any other players who deserved a mention?
Carlos Tevez and David Silva at Manchester City could perhaps count themselves unlucky not to get a nomination, as could Rafael van der Vaart and maybe even Gareth Bale is thinking he could have sneaked a mention after a stunning year. But them aside I can’t see any other stand-out candidates.
Last year the Premier League made up a third of the nominees with ten players in the final 30 man shortlist. To fall to three in a year certainly would indicate that the other European Leagues have overtaken the England in their ability to attract the world’s best.
Not necessarily so, because the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona have always had greater pulling power then any English. In truth the only thing that has managed to attract the big names to England has been money.
While Manchester City have been feely splashing the cash, until they make it in to the Champions League they will never attract the worlds very best to Eastlands, and in the mean-time Chelsea and Manchester United have looked to slow down their investment.
This has lead to the big players looking elsewhere for their moves, and with other European leagues starting to experience the boom that the Premier League created with increasing television revenues; they can easily afford to pull in the big names.
Next year, I’d imagine the gap to have closed with City’s expected Champions League qualification. This might also encourage the likes of United and Chelsea to dig deep and spend once again, so while this year might have seen the Premier League fall behind in terms of expenditure and big name signings, I can’t see this been the end of the Premier League’s tag as the “Best League in the World.”
What do you think? Is the Premier League losing it’s appeal to the big names?