By 90Min
December 18, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo recently won his fifth Ballon d'Or, taking him level with rival Lionel Messi, ensuring that no other player has won the award since Kaka back in 2007. 

It led recently retired Bayern Munich and Germany legend Philipp Lahm to come out and say: "It's time to change the Ballon d'Or. It's just a competition of popularity for the attackers", and when you really look at it, he certainly has a point.

It appears the award has been based on who scores the most goals and wins their team trophies. Whilst I'm not saying Ronaldo and Messi aren't valid winners, there's players who are making just as much of an impact in other positions that are being completely overlooked in favour of the headline acts.

Sergio Ramos has for years been a rock at the heart of Real Madrid's defence, leading with his solid defensive displays and popping up with some crucial goals, yet he seems to be nowhere near consideration. 

Andres Iniesta is another who for years been one of the world's best midfielders, scoring numerous important goals and assisting a ton of goals too, yet can't seem to get put among the same caliber for the award with Messi and Ronaldo.

The same can be said about the likes of Luka Modric, Philippe Coutinho, Toni Kroos, Kevin De Bruyne and arguably more. Let's not forget the goalkeepers, and more specifically, David De Gea. 

The Spaniard has surely been the world's best keeper for the last couple of years, and has single handedly saved his team from disaster with Superman style performance which should have him as one of the first names in contention for the world's best player because quite simply, he is. 

The general point here is that the aforementioned players are just as crucial to the team's success as the players up front scoring the goals, and it's being horribly overlooked.

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Lahm is right. The attackers are being pushed way too much by the award. The last player not to be a forward that made it to the final three was in 2012, and the last time a player who wasn't a forward won it was way back in 2006 when Fabio Cannavaro won it.

The award needs to be based off player's contribution to their team's success other than goals. Overall performances, consistency, goals, trophies. At the moment, it's mainly just the latter two that are considered, or at least it seems like it.

Yes, De Gea has not won the league or Champions League, but if you look at the grand scheme of things where would Manchester United be without him? Not challenging for the title or in the Champions League, that's for sure. 

Forget the £89m Paul Pogba or the £75m Romelu Lukaku, the real star of the show is between the sticks and yet because he is not the one scoring the goals he is not considered good enough to be in contention for the best player in the world.


Maybe there's a logical explanation. There's no doubt that Ronaldo and Messi are the two biggest names in world football, and coming into the annual awards the big talk is which one of the big two will take home the award and get an advantage in their head to head rivalry. 

UEFA know people will be watching, why have anyone else? Would a final three of De Gea, Iniesta and Ramos grab as much attention and as much talk rather than the current head to head rivalry? Probably not. 

Even then, it comes back to Lahm's point. Whilst Messi and Ronaldo certainly deserve to be in full contention for the award, the only other contenders ever coming close to contesting the awards are fellow forwards such as Neymar, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann to name a few. 

What is the point of having it as a player of the year award if it only matters about scoring goals and breaking records?

Players who work their socks off and prove crucial to success behind the forwards on the pitch are being completely disregarded, and as Lahm said, the overall contribution to the team effort has to be considered. 

How many more points will De Gea, Ramos, Marcelo and co. have to save to be considered for the award? How many consistent hard working performances will N'Golo Kante have to put in before he's given a chance? Or how many brilliant attacking displays will we have to see in the middle of the park before that is taken into consideration?


Phillip Lahm has the right idea, and as a suggestion, one idea could be to give everyone a chance. For example, fellow players/journalists/officials and so on vote for the best goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, forward and the four winners from each position go into the final pot for the world's best player, giving the competition more range and making it more competitive than who is better at scoring goals or breaking goalscoring records.

It would certainly make the award more about what it's about in a team sport, which is deciding who the best player in the world is, not the best forward. 

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