Ballon d’Or is one of the most prestigious awards a player can win for his personal achievements and performance in a season. This award is handed out each year to the best footballer in that particular season. The winner of Ballon d’Or is chosen by international journalists, coaches, and the captains of the national teams under FIFA’s jurisdiction. Lionel Messi leads the race of Ballon D’Or with 6, followed by Cristiano Ronaldo 5. In recent years a common tradition is noticeable as the player who scores most goals is most likely to be handed with the Ballon d’Or. But some players have missed out on this award even after producing the finest quality of football. Here are 5 players who deserved to win Ballon d’Or but failed:
1) Robert Lewandowski:
One of the most prolific strikers in the history of Bundesliga had a season to remember. He is often referred to as Robert Lewangoalski by his teammate Thomas Muller. Whether it was scoring 5 goals in 9 minutes against Wolfsberg in 2015 or breaking Gerd Muller’s 49-year-old record last season. Lewandowski has reached immeasurable heights throughout his career. He created history with Bayern Munich and Hansi Flick as they won the treble for the year 2019/20. Unfortunately, Ballon D’OR was cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. If it wasn’t for the pandemic Robert Lewandowski would be in serious contention for the award.
2) Wesley Sneijder: –
Often referred to as “The Man Robbed of a Ballon d’Or”. A player who constantly produced scintillating performances in Jose Mourinho’s 2009-2010 treble-winning Inter Milan was second best to the winner Lionel Messi. A lot of fans believed Sneijder was robbed of 2010 Ballon d’Or as he didn’t even make it into the top 3 players who stand at the podium. Lionel Messi’s individual brilliance was the highlight of that year but it was a disappointing season for Fc Barcelona. Sneijder went on to achieve everything that was out there. He was instrumental in Inter Milan’s clash against FC Barcelona in UEFA Champions League. Yet all these achievements were not enough to earn him this individual award.
3) Franck Ribery
A similar case like Wesley Sneijder, Ribery made into the Top 3 in Ballon d’Or rankings after winning a treble with Bayern Munich. Ronaldo scored 66 goals in 2013 after taking 296 shots. Ribery was the standout player in one of the most decorated squads of the previous decade. It is difficult for a player to stand out individually when the whole team performs well. But Franck Ribery was on a different level, a different breed when compared to his teammates. Ribery scored 22 goals and had 18 assists to his name. These numbers may not favour him but sometimes individual performance can’t be summed up by looking at statistics. Football has always been about quality rather than quantity. But both these cases prove the theory of awarding Ballon d’Or to those players who outscore everyone.
4) Xavi Hernandez
La Masia graduate midfielder is arguably one of the best mid fielders to grace the football pitch. A player whose talent cannot be described in words, a mid field maestro, a player who was in a class of his own. As a midfielder, he was the heartbeat of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona. Whether it was securing short passes, through balls or crosses he could see it before anyone else. As a player, he dominated the European league as well as International Competitions. Unfortunately for him, his golden days were filled with the likes of Messi and Ronaldo who were already going beyond the summit. Even after his retirement Xavi’s class still remains unmatched.
5) Paolo Maldini
If one debate about the best defender of all time Paolo Maldini may be ahead of others. Maldini was rock solid and an integral part of AC Milan. Despite being a defender he was a leader and probably one of the best. Maldini is the most capped player in the history of Italy. Maldini has enjoyed a decorated career but he was unable to add Ballon D’Or to his priceless collection of trophies. The only thing which kept Maldini from achieving this award was the emphasis on those who score goals. Other than that Maldini had all of it. But a Ballon d’Or would have added beautifully to his title of legend.
Pic credits: eurosport.com, theguardian.com, news18.com