The last player to break the Ballon D’Or duopoly of Messi and Ronaldo was Luka Modric. One shudders to think if there wasn’t a World Cup in that year which player would have won it in 2018. This year, Leo Messi took the gong once again for a record 7 time last night, beating Lewandolski of Bayern and Jorginho of Chelsea. The award started as the European player of the year and now it’s a global standard of excellence. No doubt Messi is one of the all time greats but this year’s win will be his most controversial. Not for the fact that he didn’t play well , no . But the fact of the matter is that there were far better players than him performance wise. Let us start with the negatives. Messi had a great goal scoring season in his last season at FC Barcelona. He scored 30 goals as he carried a lackluster side to number 3 in La Liga. But soccer is much more than goals. The results have to show as well. The results didn’t come for the catalans. What use is it to score 4 goals and the team loses 5-4? What about assists? What about tackles and blocks? The award is more of a popularity contest than based on facts and I am afraid past performances influenced the voting here.

The positives. Leo won the Copa America with Argentina this year. This is a massive achievement given it is his first at international stage. While not belittling it, this tournament the size and quality of say a world cup or a European championships. If international tournaments are to be the benchmark for determining Ballon D’or winner, then Jorginho should have won given the summer he had with Italy. If Champions League performances are to be the benchmark then Lewa wins hands down. In terms of spectacular goals Salah should win it hands down. In politics they say sometimes in a democratic vote, the electorate do not know what they want. If they don’t know what they want they vote for the most safest and familiar choice. This is what happened this year. So should the system change? Yes absolutely. This is what I would suggest. Voting be divided according to continent. From those six continental winners, a panel of 18 experts including a coach , a journalist and a player from each continent select randomly by computer right down the player they think should win it. In the event of a tie, the player with the most team wins first, then goals followed by assists in the year wins the award.

1st – Lionel Messi

2nd – Robert Lewandowski

3rd – Jorginho

4th – Karim Benzema

5th – N’Golo Kante

6th – Cristiano Ronaldo

7th – Mohamed Salah

8th – Kevin De Bruyne

9th – Kylian Mbappe

10th – Gianluigi Donnarumma