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Is The World Player Award Losing Its Credibility?

The FIFA Ballon d'Or trophy is displayed

Controversial as it may sound, I just could not help but share my thoughts. Some might agree and some might not, but it’s all up to your own judgements. As we all know, from this year onwards, the FIFA World Player of The Year and the highly prestigious Ballon d’Or will be combined and rechristened the new FIFA Ballon d’Or award. I for one am relieved this has come about as we have had funny situations when it came to naming the best player in the World and Europe.

For instance, year 2004 saw Ronaldinho being installed as World Player of The Year but when it came to the European Footballer Award, he was in 3rd place behind Andriy Shevchenko and Thierry Henry. Now how the best in the world is only third best in Europe is quite baffling to be honest. Another reason why I feel this award is losing credibility is just about the way it is being handed out. Why can’t it be right at the end of the season? Why it has to wait until the end of the year? The main question would be how it is being judged? We are all aware that by the time the award is given out, around a quarter of a new season is already underway. By the look of it, the ongoing season seem to have an effect on the way the nominees are listed. The perfect example would be the case of Diego Milito who was simply outstanding last season but seems to suffer a mediocre start to the new season. Has this in any way affected his glaring omission from the list of nominees for this year’s award? Even Miroslav Klose (with 3 league goals only all season) is ahead of him.

No disrespect intended but this just shows how flawed the system is when it comes to nominating and awarding the best players throughout the season. I am of the belief that the winner should deserve it to begin with, and then should be judged for his performances of that particular season, not the season before or after. Rooney had a terrible World Cup, but so did Klose in terms of the entire season bar the World Cup. So does that mean he had a better season than Rooney? Thierry Henry was head and shoulders above everyone else in 2003 but the award eventually went to Zinedine Zidane who had a good but not spectacular season compared to Henry’s. Past winners have also come exclusively from Juventus, Real Madrid, Inter Milan, AC Milan and Barcelona until Cristiano Ronaldo won it whilst a Manchester United player. There is also a feeling that the award is based on the performances of a single tournament (Ronaldo in 2002 and Cannavaro in 2006). Both the players above had brilliant World Cups but they were not really electrifying throughout the season. So this raises a question on whether the awarding of the title of the world’s best is done in a fair manner.

Anyhow, this is just my honest opinion. What do you guys out there think? Please share your thoughts below.

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  1. Alex

    October 29, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Poorly written article based on lack of understanding. Unless the writer has been following football very closely for the last 20 years, I’d assume he’s a novice.

    • Michael

      October 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

      what an unsporting comment, you made. better read well before making counter comments. If the award had been given at the end of the season all these views of why somebody made the list or not would not have arisen.

      • Alex

        October 31, 2010 at 10:48 am

        Nope, it’s still a poorly written article made by a novice. Counter arguments are succintly put forward by Pakapala. If the writer knew how these awards work, then he should know that it’s based on performances over the CALENDAR year.

  2. Michael

    October 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    To be honest fifa is doing more harm than good to the award by naming the best player too late into another season. players should be judged based on their performances in a season whithout given consideration to what happens in the subsequent season since the award is for a yr/season

  3. Pakapala

    October 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Unfortunately any seemngly valid point you make in this article are based on erronous assumptions or lack of knowledge about the awards in question:
    You started by saying you don’t see why there were 2 different awards to begin with. Well it is because they were being awarded by 2 different groups of people to begin with and they were awarding 2 different titles. One, FIFA Player of the Year, was an award voted by coaches and captains of teams (maybe that is why that award seem to always favor major international competitions), whereas the Ballon d’Or was voted by journalists rating UEFA players. It’s only after the Ballon d’Or changed their rules in ’07 to make it a world affair that it became obsolete.

    As far as your puzzling statement “No disrespect intended but this just shows how flawed the system is when it comes to nominating and awarding the best players throughout the season.” It shows a lack of understanding of what is being awarded. It is not best player of 1 season but best player over a calendar year. That’s the criteria. For best player over a season I am sure the FA of each country should cover that.

  4. Adam

    October 28, 2010 at 4:02 am

    Furthermore, if you actually watch barca, messi doesn’t rely on xavi or iniesta at all. He creates virtually every chance himself.

  5. Adam

    October 28, 2010 at 4:00 am

    It’s baffling that so many Germans are there. Mueller?! Klose!!!? The world cup is too overhyped. It’s of a far lower quality than the ucl anyway. Sneijder or Xavi winning it? It’s meant to go to the BEST player. Messi had an even greater season than the previous one (despite not winning the champion’s league) but they won’t give it to him? He carried Barcelona… Put four past arsenal, so far this season he has scored individual goals to keep Barcelona going – but a bad performance at the wc ( not that bad actually) means he only makes the shortlist. As for milito’s omission in tbd favor of people like klose and puyol, even eto’o – is despicable. The award has lost it’s credibility unless they award it to the BEST player in the whorl last season. And we know who that was – messi.

    • Kishore Nair

      October 28, 2010 at 4:17 am

      A fair insight indeed Adam….but Sneijder was outstanding throughout last season as well…I’d give the benefit of the doubt to Sneijder although I wont be surprised if Messi wins it again

    • Kurt

      October 28, 2010 at 4:24 am

      “It’s baffling that so many Germans are there. Mueller?! Klose!!!? The world cup is too overhyped. It’s of a far lower quality than the ucl anyway.”

      So what is your point. Klose and Mueller had an outstanding World Cup AND played in the CL final…

  6. Nilster

    October 28, 2010 at 3:32 am

    The world cup influences the award nominations. In every world cup year, the players who shone for the tournament will become the award’s priority, no matter how they performed for their clubs. Kind of unfair, but that is how it goes. Or else you wouldn’t be seeing winners such as Cannavaro. Looking at the current batch of nominees, there are certain high profile omissions (Milito in particular), but in the end it all comes down to the top 3. My personal opinion is that Milito does not belong in the top 3, if you’re putting him alongside the outstanding Lionel Messi (european golden boot winner), the brilliant Xavi (influential for both club and country last season) and the eventual winner Wesley Sneijder (treble, WC final, what more can I say?).

  7. esperenza

    October 27, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Kishore Nair@ just curious,when you said Henry was “head and shoulders above everyone else in 2003”, did you follow every game in other major leagues (serie A, La liga etc) involving for eg. Zidane,Andriy Shevchenko and others before making the the judgement?or you simply based it on stats?

  8. Football Souvenirs

    October 27, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Isn’t the system new this year? I am not sure of details as the media is more focussed on the lack of English representatives.
    For me the winner has to be Iniesta or Sneijda

  9. what a drama

    October 27, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    The world cup and other international performances are included in this award not just club matches ..u all know this right? its pretty straight forward. A genius makes complicated things simple and a retard vice versa ..have a think.

    • Kishore Nair

      October 27, 2010 at 1:38 pm

      So you mean to say that 8 games is enough to judge the level of performances of a player

      • Adam

        October 28, 2010 at 4:04 am

        Exactly. Ntm that the ucl is of a much higher standard and of greater importance than the world cup.

  10. hassan

    October 27, 2010 at 1:27 am

    and you are talking shit about kaka i bet you missed him in the champions league 07 and specially against manu and i guess he was also the golden ball winner in the confederations cup which brazil won and england didnt even qualify for the euros… confederations cup is like being on another planet compared to that….lol

    • Kishore Nair

      October 27, 2010 at 9:28 am

      Kaka definitely deserved his award in 2007..I don’t deny the fact…btw there is no reference of Kaka in the post above…can you pls tell me where was the part I talked ‘shit’ about Kaka

  11. hassan

    October 27, 2010 at 1:22 am

    you epl fans can go to hell…and we ill talk about rooney after england wins a worldcup with rooney going past 6 players and scoring or maybe even one will do for me…lol

    • Kishore Nair

      October 27, 2010 at 1:34 am

      Forget Rooney…you really think Klose and Asamoah Gyan were any better than Diego Milito throughout last season??..that makes it what..7 goals in total for Klose including the ones he scored in the WC…if he’s in the list of nominees…then so should be Robert Vittek…seriously mate?

      • Kurt

        October 27, 2010 at 8:17 am

        In the previous season Klose scored goals for fun in the CL, but Bayern were eliminated in the quarterfinals by Barca and hence Klose didn`t make the list. One year later Rooney is in a similar position. Klose was part of a team which reached the Cl final and became runner-up in the all-time World Cup goalscorer list. From that point of view his inclusion in the short-list shouldn`t come as a surprise.

  12. Maia

    October 26, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    These kinds of awards tend to generate controversy because personal opinion weighs heavily…..i.e Kaka being named as World Player of the Year still baffles me…

  13. Tim

    October 26, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Henry “head and shoulders above everyone else in 2003”. Quite a comical comment and proof you’re stuck in the Premiership bubble!! Zidane was another level from 1998 to 2004. Henry was one of the best, but never the best

    • Kishore Nair

      October 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      32 goals and 24 assists plus the PFA Player of The Year Award and add to that The F.A Cup he won that season compared to Zidane’s La Liga title being the only thing he won…I say that pretty much makes Henry better than Zidane in 2003

      • smurfball

        October 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm

        I totally agree with you. In 2003 Henry was the best on any football pitch known to the world. It is incomprehensibe how Zidane won it over him. Not that Zidane wasn’t good, he was very consistent. But that season Henry beat them all. So I agree with you that the world player of the year award an dhis little brother the Ballon d’Or are basically lobbyist awards for players from a few clubs (my words). The Spanish and the Italian league both claim they are the best in the world and that may be so but that does not automatically mean they always have the best player. Since 2003 both awards lost credibility. I’m sure Henry would have liked to have one but even he must have realized that it doesn’t really matter. IT’s fake anyway.

      • Alex

        October 27, 2010 at 7:55 pm

        yeah whatever dude. PL was and is still a joke and Titi Henry was a big fish in a small pond whereas Zidane was a big fish in a big pond. Remember the game where Man Yoo (the champions) were humiliated at the Bernabeau by zizou and co? What did Henry and Arsenal accomplish in the CL that season? If you wanna go by the stats, then there’s a chap in the Dutch league who was miles ahead in that category but didn’t even get a look by FIFA. Guess what..competition does matter and La Liga at that time was the strongest league in the world. Michael Owen won the Golden Ball in 2001 ahead of Raul..that’s unfair.

  14. Dave B.

    October 26, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Something run by FIFA is controversial? I am shocked!

    These kinds of awards tend to generate controversy because personal opinion weighs heavily. Add in the weird timing of the award – basically straddling seasons – and it gets even more dicey.

    I do agree it should be given out right before the new European season starts. Call Aug. 1 the start and end date each year (you can’t do it when the season ends because what about Euro Championship and World Cups?)

  15. Dave C

    October 26, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I don’t think your article is controversial at all. Does any one actually give a hoot about the world player of the year award and/or the European player of the year award?

    I agree that it’s at a ridiculous time of the year – why not give the award at the end of the season (for most of the world’s football calendar at least)?

    But furthermore, what does it even mean to receive an individual award in a team game? How come the winners are nearly always forwards? And as you alluded to in your comparison between Rooney and Klose, how do the deciders weight performances in different competitions?

    • hank

      October 26, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      I would argue that forwards are legitimately favored. Football is a team game, but there’s a reason quality attacking players cost more money than quality defensive players: it’s easier to destroy, than it is to create, so the efforts of attacking players tend to be more valued. Not that good defense is less important to winning a game than a good attack when, but individually, defensive players are a little easier to replace.

  16. RVPFan

    October 26, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Apart from your issue with EPL players not winning the award, I think you have a legitimate thoughts and opinion, which share much of mine. If any player deserves the award for being an outstanding player of the year, it would be Wesley Sneijder. He was simply outstanding through out the season for Inter and was Holland’s best player while they reached the World Cup final. However, I really do believe that the trophy would be award to somebody from Spain, maybe Iniesta, since Spain won the World Cup and he scored in the final. As you point out, myopic view of the award is what makes it ridiculously flawed.

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