The announcement of the French Football to cancel this year’s edition of the Ballon D’or presentation dropped like the famous Japanese bombs, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki in the hearts of the players, managers, football lovers, and other stakeholders.
There was a clear desire not to place an asterisk next to this year’s award, but that would not have been necessary because no such asterisk has been placed next to Lewandowski’s Bundesliga achievements, neither Benzema’s title-winning performance in Spain nor asterisk on Liverpool’s triumph either, with a handful of their players being rooted for to make top-10 shouts at the very least.
Although France Football’s decision is quite understandable at the same time, it’s heart-rending. It means that players who have contributed immensely to the success of their respective teams this season and are hoping of bagging an accolade or two in December are being robbed of a chance to have a go at the award.
This is an award that has been long dominated by two fabled-duo (Ronaldo and Messi) and many have had their hopes raised to see another challenger similar to the one that emerged in Luka Modriç in 2018 come again to snatch the award from the usual suspects on the podium, especially when there’s more to play for in the Champions League – this isn’t right.
Unfortunately, the world would have to wait for next year to witness another Ballon D’or event. But as things stand, we have major losers in this year’s Ballon D’or cancellation.
The top contenders who have missed out on a shot at winning the Ballon d’Or Prize.
- Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)
Poor Karim Benzema, who’s scintillating performance propelled Real Madrid to the Liga title in their first post-Cristiano Ronaldo era has been backed by the Real Madrid manager and President to win the Ballon d’Or.
“Benzema should be the Ballon d’Or, I have not seen any player have as good a year as him” Florentino Perez stated.
Benzema has been a reliable institution for Zidane in previous seasons but his efforts were completely overshadowed by the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo.
But since the exit of the Portuguese star, Benzema’s form has made him a sole contender for the award; he notched 21 goals in 37 league games as Real beat arch-rivals Barcelona to the LaLiga title.
But apparently, time is running out for him and it begs the question whether he will ever be in such a strong position to win it again.
- Sergio Ramos
Real Madrid’s first Spanish title since 2017 was built on a defense that was marshaled superbly by Ramos as he enjoyed his most consistent campaign for some time.
It was his goalscoring exploits towards the end of the season, though, that help moved Madrid towards snatching the 37th title from arch-rival as he found the net on a number of occasions.
Former Los Blancos defender, Cannavaro was honored after captaining Italy to World Cup glory, but he is the only defensive player to win the Ballon d’Or in the last 22 years.
It was looking like Ramos may yet have another chance to join his fellow center-back as a Ballon d’Or winner, but he was denied to dream about making the top three talks more winning the gong this year. As the annual individual award was canceled due to the global pandemic that halts all sporting events across the globe.
- Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
A 34-goal Bundesliga haul and nothing to show for it, other than another Bundesliga trophy, Bundesliga Player of the Season award, and maybe even a European Golden Shoe.
Bayern Manager, Hansi Flick, said “If I measure for goals now and I see that he has scored 34 goals in the Bundesliga this year, then you can think about how a player from the Bundesliga can become the Ballon d’Or winner. So why not? He has laid all the groundwork with this achievement this year and I would wish him well”
The 31-year old Polish forward has been prolific for Bavarians this term, scoring a staggering 51 goals in 43 matches and also helping the club win their eighth consecutive Bundesliga title as well as the German Cup.
Just like Benzema, this may just be his last chance of landing the gong given that he will have a hard time shining with Poland at international tournaments and for Benzema, it’s as sure as death that he will no longer feature for the Les Blues as long as Didier Deschamps remains the manager; this leaves the unfortunate duo at a disadvantage.
And not to forget the age factor, time is of the essence.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
This Portuguese is already at a disadvantage because last year’s edition of the award means he’s adrift (5) of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (6); and his chance to equal the tally has just been dampened.
Thankfully for Ronaldo, Messi did not win anything in Spain and it’s possible that he may end the season trophyless but posted fantastic statistics (25 goals, 22 assists) which could have offered him the supreme reward. While Ronaldo became the first player to score at least 50 goals in the Premier League, LaLiga, and Serie A.
And since It’s no secret that he will undoubtedly snatch the title in Italy and can still hope to finish Golden Shoe, which would’ve handed him a better chance to draw level with his fierce rival Messi, but he’ll have to wait at least another year.
- Lionel Messi
The Argentine is a phenomenon, but the 2020 campaign hasn’t been his best year. His 25 league goals allowed him to win his seventh Pichichi and he registered 21 assists, and this put him in contention for a seventh Ballon d’Or, but he was by no means the favorite.
The Ballon d’Or holder’s chances of claiming a seventh prize were hit by both Barcelona’s failure to win La Liga and their poor form meaning they likely would have needed to raise their game hugely to challenge for the Champions League.
- Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Mane finished fourth in the Ballon d’Or rankings last year after a fine season as Liverpool won the Champions League and finished runners-up to City in the English top-flight was praised by Messi that he should’ve been ranked higher last year.
His performance for the Reds this term would’ve propelled him to winning as well. The Liverpool forward has been magnificent as the club ended their 30-year wait for an English league title. His 17 league goals and 9 assists helped the Kop land the title in an amazing manner as Liverpool dominated from last August to date.
Although, Liverpool’s ouster from the Champions League at the last 16 stages by Athletico Madrid might’ve affected his chances he definitely would be in the running in again this year but for France Football’s announcement.
Super League: Respect & Dialogue Needed To Restore Normality
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, disapproving the concept of Super League
President Gianni Infantino has called for respect and dialogue as he expressed FIFA’s strong disapproval of the proposed European Superleague project, and has requested that the concerned parties consider their position in line with respecting the institutions that exist to protect the interest of national, European, and global football.
“FIFA is an organization which is built on values, the true values of sport,” said the FIFA President in his address to the 45th Ordinary UEFA Congress in Montreux, Switzerland.
“It is an organization that is built on our statutes, the statutes that define the institutional framework, with the pyramid, with FIFA, the confederations, the associations, the leagues, the clubs, the players. And at FIFA, we can only strongly disapprove of the creation of a super league which is a closed shop, which is a breakaway from the current institutions, from the leagues, from the associations, from UEFA, and from FIFA, which is outside of the system. There is no doubt whatsoever of FIFA’s disapproval for this.”
The FIFA President emphasized his full support to the European sports model, a successful model of openness and inclusivity, promotion and relegation, and a model that he promoted in his 16 years at UEFA:
“FIFA is here, and I am here today as FIFA President, to bring full support to European football, to UEFA, and the 55 member associations of UEFA and of FIFA, to the leagues, clubs, players, and to fans. To all the fans, all over Europe, and actually all over the world as well.”
“We can see that there is a lot to throw away for the short-term financial gain of some,” the FIFA President added. “People need to think very carefully, they need to reflect, and they need to assume responsibility. They need to think not only of their shareholders, but they need to think about all the people, of all the fans, of all those who have contributed to making European football what it is today. It goes back not only decades, it goes back more than one hundred years. People – with love, with passion, with commitment – have created all this. And we need to protect this. It is our task.”
“FIFA is a democratic organization, an organization that is open,” the FIFA President concluded. “Everyone can bring ideas and proposals, but always with respect for the institutions, leagues, associations, UEFA, and FIFA.
With respect for the history and with the respect for the passion of so many people around the world. I understand as well that on these particular days, emotions are very high, but we need to always keep the line. Football is hope, and it is our responsibility to make hope a reality. So we hope that everything will go back to normal and that everything will be settled, but always with acting responsibly, with respect, with solidarity, and always in the interest of national, European, and global football.”
2 Potential Manager To Replace Hansi Flick
Hansi Flick awesome reign with the Bavarian giant is gradually winding down, as it’s looking likely that he may not further manage the Die Roten next season.
Bayern Munich’s quest to win the Champions League consecutively came to end on Tuesday night, via the UEFA’s away goal rules having lost the first leg at home to Paris Saint Germain in the quarter-finals despite being the better side at home.
The Bavarian giant will now focus on league duty and they’re no doubt the team in pole position to win the Bundesliga, as the 2020-21 campaign is gradually coasting home with fewer games left to be played. In that regard, there is a great need for Die Roten to start preparing for next season administration and coaching wise.
The friction relationship between Hansi Flick and the Sports Director has broken down to such as extent that the manager has decided to terminate his current contract.
Hansi Flick sent shock waves through German football on Saturday after a 3-2 win over Wolfburg which keeps the Bavarian in pole position to retain the league title. Hansi Flick issued a statement about his decision to exit when the current campaign draws to a close.
“I told the team today that I informed the club during the week, after the game in Paris, I would like to terminate my contract at the end of the season.
“It was important to me that the team learn this from me because there was already a lot of hallway rumours going around.
“We’ve done a great job together for almost two years. I’m absolutely impressed with this team, their quality and their attitude.”
He added: “I also want to thank the club that gave me the chance to manage this incredible team.
“This decision was not easy for me. I’m a fan of this club. Gerd Müller, Paul Breitner, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge all were childhood idols for me.
“I’m eternally grateful to the club for the chance they gave me to become head coach here.”
It’s quite evident that a new manager would be appointed to pave way for a new rebuild of the team especially with the looming departure of David Alaba, Jerome Boateng, and Javi Martinez.
Two potential top managers that could succeed Hansi Flick, should he accept Die Mannschaft managerial position.
- Julien Nagelsmann – (RB Leipzig)
Nagelsmann has been rumoured as a possible replacement to succeed not one but many managers in Europe’s top-flight leagues whose future with their respective clubs are not guaranteed. This time around, the 33-year-old has been rumoured to be one of the possible potential managers to succeed Hansi Flick.
It could be argued that Nagelsmann is the tailor-made manager to take over the reins at the Allianz Arena, and there is no doubt RB Leipzig manager would certainly harbour the dream of managing one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Nagelsmann is presently focusing on the job at hand with RB Leipzig, plus the fact that he’s still under contract with his employers until the end of the 2022-23 season.
With RB Leipzig and Nagelsmann flying high in the Bundesliga in terms of team performances, with next season European football spot already secured, the club’s Executive Director Oliver Mintzlaff may consider letting him leave to join their rival.
However, it’s left to be seen how things would shape up at the end of the campaign.
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- Jurgen Klopp – (Liverpool)
The relationship the German tactician has achieved thus far with Liverpool started in 2015 when he joined the Kop from Borussia Dortmund, since then he has achieved quite an incredible success with the Reds winning their first league title after thirty years and a Champions League triumph.
Liverpool were eliminated early in both domestic cup competitions and failed to progress past the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and it’s quite impossible to say that the Kop will defend their title with their current epileptic form in the Premier League especially when it’s looking done and dusted that the cityzen would clinch the title.
Having used close to six years with Liverpool since he joined the Anfield side, this could be the perfect time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager to take up a new challenge. However, despite Liverpool’s unpalatable 2020-21 campaign, the German has often reiterated that he is in no way finished at Liverpool, despite been link to the Bayern Munich and Die Mannschaft managerial position.
Given his incredible success with BVB, it’s quite evident that he would one day go on to manage either Die Roten or Die Mannschaft. Should Bayern secure the service of Klopp, he would certainly be the right and wise choice for the Bavarian giant.
At the end of the campaign, there would be a breath of fresh air in the Bavarian giant camp, with the new CEO Oliver Kahn taking the mantle of leadership from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. In that sense, it’s left to be seen if the incoming leader would sanction the appointment of a new manager or stick with Hansi Flick. Only time would tell.