The much-awaited Ballon D’or 2017 Ceremony finally took place at the beautiful Eiffel Tower on Thursday. Despite Messi’s goal-galore in the second half of 2017, there was never a slightest of doubt about who will win the award. Real Madrid’s talisman Cristiano Ronaldo won his second consecutive and record-equalling fifth overall Ballon D’or on the night as Messi-Ronaldo domination completed a decade. (DECADE!)
— France Football (@francefootball) December 7, 2017
No one can argue with the France Football and its 173 journalists about their decision to crown the Portuguese as the winner. But in the list of “30 best footballers in the World” in 2017, there were a few decisions which were not only questionable but also quite hard to digest.
Here, we take a look at 10 such questionable spots by France Football:
#1 Toni Kroos:
This list has to start with Toni Kroos, it just has to. How can the best midfielder in the World be 17th in this list? The German was at the heart of Madrid’s midfield throughout the last season and was one of the most important members of Zidane’s team in their domestic and European success. His pinpoint passing and the ever-looming threat of long-range shots made Madrid’s life much easier in the midfield.
If Ramos scored a flurry of late goals last season, it was largely because of the German who worked his magic to deliver the perfect ball from the set pieces almost every time. He might not have had a very great second half of 2017 by his standards, but the Midfielder had done enough to earn his spot in top 10, at least.
#2 Eden Hazard:
Another big HOW? The man who was instrumental in Chelsea’s league triumph was ranked only 19th by the France football. The Belgian wizard scored 16 goals and provided 5 assists in the title-winning season. Hazard’s dribbling and his shooting accuracy caused a lot of problems for the opponents.
The Belgian winger has scored 20 goals in 2017 and has been in a great form for Chelsea. He has already scored 5 goals in EPL this season and has a shooting accuracy of whopping 77%. And hence it is nothing but a crime to name this guy 19th in the list.
#3 Dries Mertens:
Help me out with this. A player who has scored 34 goals in 2017, already has 10 goals and 3 assists in Serie A this season, is in 29th position? Behind Karim Benzema, who has scored twice in the league? (More about that later) Yes, I’m talking about is Dries Mertens. The Belgian has been ranked joint 29th by France Football, i.e. at the bottom of the list.
The striker had an unbelievable season with Napoli where he scored 28 goals in 2016-17 to help his club finish 3rd in the league. The striker has continued his form this season as Napoli sit 2nd in the table, just a point behind Inter. Forget 29th, the Belgian should be in the top 15.
#4 Radamel Falcao:
A certain 18-year-old sensation helped Monaco win the Ligue 1 and reach the semi-finals of Champions League last season. But all that would have been almost impossible without the help of AS Monaco’s captain, El Tigre – Radamel Falcao.
The Columbian revived his career after a torrid time in England and he did it some style. The striker scored 21 goals in league and 5 in Europe last season as Monaco dethroned PSG to win the title. The striker has continued his rich form this season with 14 goals. The 24th position does not tell you the story of how good he has been for Monaco’s dream season.
#5 Gianluigi Buffon:
The 39-year-old Juventus captain Gigi Buffon is one of the best goalkeepers in the World. But in the year 2017, he was the “best” goalkeeper without any doubt. The Italian had a stellar year between the posts as he saved almost everything shot in his direction. The shot-stopper conceded just 38 goals in 45 games in 2017 with just 0.84 goals per game. The Italian led the Turin club to their 6th consecutive Serie A title and 3rd consecutive Coppa Italia.
The legendary goalkeeper conceded just 3 goals on his way to the final of Champions League. But one bad night in Cardiff kept him away from the famous Champions League trophy yet again. Gigi had a great year definitely deserved to be on the podium with Ronaldo and Messi.
#6 Edin Dzeko:
Something is definitely not right, when, Edin Dzeko, the top scorer of Serie A is ranked 28th in the rankings. The Roma striker had an amazing season in front of the goal as he scored 29 goals to win the Golden Boot and helped his side to finish just behind Juventus.
The Bosnian has been on fire in this season as well with his 11 goals so far. The striker has helped Roma qualify for the knockout stages of Champions League as the group winners ahead of Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. His 8 goals in the league have also kept Roma in the race for the title.
#7 Robert Lewandowski:
Nobody from this list of 30 players has scored more goals than Robert Lewandowski in 2017. The Polish striker has scored 52 goals in just 51 games. (Messi has also scored 52 goals but in 61 matches) The 29-year-old has been the strike force for both Bayern Munich and Poland. But the striker is ranked only 9th on the list.
The striker helped his national team to qualify for the World Cup with 16 goals in qualification. He also scored 30 goals in the Bundesliga as Bayern won their 5th consecutive title.
Lewandowski was the best No.9 of 2017 for sure and he deserved a place in top 5, maybe?
#8 Sergio Ramos:
Yes, Sergio Ramos saved Real Madrid on various occasions with his late goals. He won the precious points for Madrid which led to their Spanish success. But the 6th place is little higher for the Madrid captain when most of the players mentioned in this list are way below him.
The defender has 3 red cards in 2017. His first red card of the year was in El Clasico which could have cost Real Madrid their first league title in 5 years. He has also been rusty at the back in this season and is one of the reasons for Madrid’s poor form in the league.
Don’t get me wrong, Sergio Ramos was one of the best defenders in Spain and Europe last season, and he definitely deserves to be on this list, but maybe not 6th.
#9 Kylian Mbappe:
Kylian Mbappe surprised everyone by finishing 7th in the rankings. The 18-year-old had an unbelievable breakout year where he scored 15 goals in Ligue 1 to help Monaco win the title. The striker was also praised for his performances in Champions League and was obviously the hottest property in the transfer market. PSG signed the Frenchman for €180m, making him the second costliest player in the history.
And it looks like, the journalists at the France Football also got caught up in the hype and his Hollywood style story. The youngster is, of course, one of the jewels of football and will win the Ballon D’or one day. But naming him ahead of strikers like Lewandowski, Harry Kane and Cavani is just a little hard to accept right now.
Mbappe above lewandowski and Kane????
— Luke (@MartialTheGod) December 7, 2017
#10 Karim Benzema:
First of all, we don’t know how Benzema made it to the top 30 did. But to name him ahead of Dzeko, Mertens, and Coutinho, who played some great football throughout the year, is simply unfair.
The Frenchman scored just 14 goals in 2017 and hardly had a game to remember. (Except his semi-final performance against Atletico Madrid) He has also been out of form in the league with just two goals this season.
Can anyone explain his spot?
There is nothing we can do about the list now. It’s done and dusted. But France Football needs to bring more transparency to the selection process. If Ballon D’or is an individual award, should the team titles really matter? How much importance should be given to just the number of goals? And is the procedure biased toward the strikers and unfair to the defenders/goalkeepers?
There are a lot of things which need an explanation and France Football have an entire year to do that. Until then can someone other than Ronaldo or Messi please stand up?