So last night FIFA announced their version of Ballon d’Or- the Best. The concept of the best awards is simple, the players who have been exceptional over the course of the last season will be awarded with the prestigious prize. Well, at least that’s what FIFA claims it to be. And we very well know when FIFA claims something, it’s not entirely true (Qatarruption).
The Best is calculated by the votes of players, coaches, fans and journalists. And that’s where the system is flawed. Fans are always going to vote for their favorite player, likewise a player is going to vote for his teammate if not himself. Lionel Messi won the best simply because he won over the players, coaches and fans. Most journalists voted for Van Dijk and since Ballon d’Or is only open for journalists Van Dijk seems to be the prime candidate for the prize.
But there is one player who I think deserves a Ballon d’Or over all these players- Sadio Mane. The Senegalese wasn’t just exceptional for Liverpool last season, he also led his national side to the African Cup Final. Mane has been more than just a team player for this Liverpool side, he has proven time and time again why Jurgen Kloop adores him.
He has been one of the most underrated player at Liverpool. He isn’t always on the scoresheet but the amount of work he does for the team is through the charts. He was involved in 30+ goals in his 50 matches last season, which in normal standards is just phenomenal. He scored 24 goals in Premier League last season which helped Liverpool almost win the Premier League and which won him the golden boot. He averaged 2.32 points per match and was crucial in Kloop’s men securing their first piece of silverware.
But Sadio Mane isn’t as marketable as the likes of Messi, Ronaldo and even Van Dijk, he isn’t someone who brings in huge publicity for the ceremony. Mane won’t generate FIFA the sort of hype a Ronaldo or a Messi can generate. Mane missing from the World XI is the biggest scam after Wesley Sneijder not winning the Ballon d’Or in 2010. Mbappe even with his quality was nowhere near mane last season. So no matter how good a player will be, if he isn’t marketable he will never win these “prestigious” individual trophies. And that’s just the way it is.