A Chelsea player won’t win the Ballon d’Or. It’s a fun joke that’s spinning rival fans but some are just setting themselves up for disappointment.
The Ballon d’Or, on paper, is an award for the best player in the world for a calendar year. The award is a joke and a Chelsea player won’t win it.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award for over a decade. For the most part, their winning was indisputable. But there have been several years where neither should have won it, yet they did anyways.
The award became less about the best player in a calendar year and more about checking the right boxes. And once, when Luka Modric won it, it was more about giving it to someone besides Messi or Ronaldo than it was about the actual best player in a calendar year.
Frank Ribery should have won the award and he came third that year. Virgil van Dijk had a stronger case for it last season than Messi did. Modric won the Champions League and nearly the World Cup, but Eden Hazard was the best player in the world that year.
It’s a popularity contest on one side of things and a checklist on another. Win Champions League? You get bumped up the list. Win an international tournament (in South America or Europe, exclusively of course) and you go up the list.
That second part is why Chelsea players are in the conversation at all. The Champions League box ticked, it looked like N’Golo Kante could win the award with a good Euros. France crashed out and all eyes turned to Jorginho. Should England actually bring it home, then Mason Mount has to jump up to the top of the pile for being the most important player for club and country.
But they’ll be dismissed. Jorginho isn’t a player that “pops” enough to get the award. Kante without the Euros won’t win it and he didn’t really play enough to justify it either. Mount they’ll dismiss for being too young, saying his time will come later.
It’ll go to Robert Lewandowski because he’s a player that pops. If England do win it, even without any club silverware Harry Kane will jump up the list as part of name recognition. If Argentina wins the Copa America, well, then Messi could retire right after and still win the award.
The award for best player in the world should be something worth having, but it’s meaning has been diluted. No one is saying Messi and Ronaldo didn’t deserve most of their awards, but they didn’t deserve all of them.