It’s that time of the year again. The footballing world awaits the picks for the Ballon d’Or as another calendar year comes to an end. The 2016 edition sees two Uruguayans feature; Luis Suárez (Barcelona) and Diego Godín (Atlético Madrid).
The Ballon d’Or – which is back in France Football‘s hands after FIFA ended its partnership with the French magazine in September – has 30 contenders varying from the Premier League, Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Primeira Liga.
Some notable, yet arguably deserved, picks are Premier League trio Riyad Mahrez, Jamie Vardy (both Leicester City) and West Ham star Dimitri Payet. Sporting Portugal-goalie Rui Patrício probably wouldn’t be on many lists either. However, Patrício did win the European Championship with Portugal this summer and kept a clean sheet in four out of seven games in the process.
After the year Luis Suárez has had, a nomination for the Ballon d’Or was inevitable. Diego Godín though, who might not be much of a ‘headliner’, deserved to be on the list for the past two years as the 31-year-old has led Europe’s most solid and organised defense for some time now. Despite the fact Diego won’t come in contention of being shortlisted, this nomination is a wonderful recognition.
In contrast, Luis Suárez should be one of the players to challenge Messi and Ronaldo for world football’s most prestigious accolade. If he manages to keep it away from the ‘traditional two’, he will be the first to do so since the Brazilian maestro Kaká – who won the award in 2007.
Don’t get your hopes up, though, we all know how awards like these go. Before you know, some guy who scored a back-heel goal vs. Hungary ends up walking away with it…
Written by David Kraakman.