After months of anticipation, France Football Magazine, organizers of the Ballon d’Or award finally presented the winner of this year’s award in a glamorous ceremony which featured the first female Ballon d’Or winner.
2018 was an amazing year in football especially being a world cup year, which might be the last that could feature the 32-team format, where France emerged victors beating Croatia in the final match.
Croatia, however, despite not winning had much to be thankful for as their star player and captain Luka Modrič was named the best player of the tournament and later crowned the FIFA Best Player for the year 2018.
When Modrič was named as FIFA’s best, bringing an unprecedented end to the dominance of Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina’s Lionel Messi, only a few saw the possibility of the Croatian winning the much-coveted award.
The Ballon d’Or winner, since ending its partnership with FIFA, is selected by journalists from countries that are member nations of FIFA, however, only one journalist can vote per country. Many would expect support from his country’s journalist but that wasn’t the case for five-time winner Lionel Messi.
While journalists from other countries selected Messi as their first choice, Argentina’s representative, Enrique “Quique” Wolff, put Messi in third place in his list with World Cup winners Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane ahead of the Argentine. Luka Modrič and Cristiano Ronaldo coming in third and fourth respectively.
After Monday night’s announcement, the internet was agog with comments on why Barcelona’s star player didn’t win the award having had an amazing season. Messi scored 46 goals, 21 assists, created 41 chances. He also won the European golden boot, La Liga, Spanish Super Cup, scored the most goals in the Champions League and was also named the best player in LA Liga all in the 2017/2018 season.
This year’s Ballon d’Or places Real Madrid as the club with the most winners with seven different players and joint winners with arch-rivals Barcelona, both with players winning a total of eleven times.
Although Messi’s achievements in the past season might have been overshadowed by Argentina’s dismal performance at the world cup, it shows that there is a subtle level of subjectivity when it comes to selecting the winner of the award. To say the least, Enrique Wolff might have expressed his dissatisfaction with the 31-year old by placing him in the third position in his list.