Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Ballon Bore

The Ballon D’or ceremony must undoubtedly be one of the most trivial and mundane felicitation ceremonies in any kind of sport (or film industry) anywhere in the world. It’s so predictable and ostentatious at times that it really comes as no surprise that Ronaldo and Mourinho decided to happily boycott the thing this year. It’s a bit like one of those film festivals with the fancy French name which shows all those movies that no-one ever goes to see. Or like the Filmfare awards that supposedly honour excellence in the Indian film industry (if such a thing exists).

Let’s examine some of the awards that are presented shall we? Best player, best coach, fair play award and best goal. Wow. Read that again and say it with me. Wow. We need an entire ceremony (complete with nominations) to present 4 awards? Sorry 7- women also come into it. Best player- Is that even worth asking? It’s quite obviously Messi. We all know that. Just give it to the guy. Even Ronaldo knows that (well, deep down anyway). Why have an entire list of 23 nominated players, which then gets reduced to 3, and ultimately Leo, when you know right from the time the 23 guys get in there that it’s going to go to Leo?  Just give it to the guy. Don’t put the players, and quite frankly the world, through an annoying series of tedious nominations and votes when the verdict is really so obvious. It’s tantamount to saying I know the simplest answer to my problem but I’ll give myself 22 other less favourable alternatives just in case.

Then the world begins to debate. “Why wasn’t Robin Van Persie nominated?”, or “What did Eric Abidal do to get in there? I mean, I know he lived through trauma and all, but come on” Come on indeed, FIFA. Simplify your process. Nominate 4 guys (if you really must). Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Ronaldo. No one else is even in the same League. Pele, if you’re reading this, no Neymar is not in the same league. Nicklas Bendtner, if you’re reading this, no, you are not in the same league. Goal-keepers, if you’re reading this, you don’t win this award. Ever. Don’t spark unnecessary debate over an award that really holds significance only to the player who gets it (not that Messi needs awards to prove his brilliance). Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, Eric Cantona and even (shockingly) Dennis Bergkamp have never won the Ballon D’or. So they’re all rubbish I suppose? The award holds no significance to most of the world. It matters only to the guy who gets it so if you know who’s going to get it, please don’t waste everyone’s time.

Next we come to the rather creatively named best manager and (wait for this) fair play achievement awards. If the player one was a little trivial, these are outright laughable. Best manager? I’m guessing he manages the best team? Good guess? Well, obviously. I’d like to see how Guardiola does at Blackburn personally. I’d like to see him tiki-taka with Chris Samba. Steve Kean, however? I’m sure he’s quite alright as far away from Barcelona as he is right now, let’s leave it at that.

Fair play? Oh, I see. So we need this as an incentive so that players don’t bite each other, or coaches don’t poke each other in the eye, or it’s a Machiavellian plan set up by South American teams to bring down the Spanish League’s reputation by slapping the El Clasico in the face. Whatever it is, it’s a complete waste of time and money. In the interest of providing complete information I shall now say that the Japanese Football Federation won it this year. Ok then. I guess all the Japanese League fans were busy painting the town red? All 5 of them?

Not to be forgotten here is the special Presidential Award presented to Sir Alex Ferguson. Basically, it’s an expensive way of saying- “Listen, Guardiola won the other one, so we’re giving you this to make sure you show up next year”. Maybe try it on Mourinho next time? Maybe also Cristiano? Nothing feeds more than the human ego. “Keep shoving it on until Roses start growing in it” as my good friend Mr. Charlie Harper (2.5 men, for those did not get it) would say. Of course they did ultimately please Pele (and indirectly Neymar) when Neymar was presented with best goal. Well done, boy. In unrelated news, Wayne Rooney is now planning to score with his right testicle as he feels it’s the only way he can win anything here.

I conclude this piece quickly because I’m fairly certain what I’ve written will already have me responding to a fair few angry comments from Pele fans, Neymar fans, Japanese League fans and Nicklas Bendtner. Either way, my point is simple. Keep the awards straightforward. Don’t over-complicate. Don’t over-nominate. Don’t bore. The deserving candidates mostly win, it has to be said. It’s the nominations that cause most of the stir (which is ironic, since they count for absolutely nothing). As Albert Einstein (who, I’ve been told, was a big Bayern Munich fan) would say- “Always make things as simple as possible, but not simpler”. Hmm, no wonder they sold Olic and bought Mario Gomez.


  1. Last Year a guy Won the Treble with his club (without Xavi and Iniesta) and went all the way to the WC final scoring 5 goals and this same awards committee excluded him not only from winning it but also from the Top 3.That says everything about this award .

  2. Yes it does.. and I knew you'd mention Sneijder so I thought it best to give you a proper chance to do that.. so I left it out of my article :)