The football world has more than its fair share of the COVID-19 effect, from the cancellation of games to play games behind a closed-door without the usual echoes of fans around the stadium, to clubs laying off staff due to the financial crisis. Some leagues have managed to wrap up their calendar, while some leagues were canceled and the league winners decided with their current league standing.
Unfortunately, one the most prestigious award of the year the Ballon D’or, a prize for the best player on the planet and usually bragging right for the recipient an award that started in 1956. UEFA itself has had to adopt changes to its tournament format to suit the sudden change brought by the virus. In a chat with French24
“It’s such a strange year that we couldn’t treat it as an ordinary one. Let’s say that we started talking about (making the decision) at least two months ago,” Ferré told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
“It isn’t a decision we took lightly, but we had to accept it couldn’t be a normal or typical Ballon d’Or winner, and what worried us it that it wouldn’t be fairly awarded.”
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The French organizer of the award had earlier confirmed that the award would not be issued this year due to the coronavirus as they deemed the atmosphere of football this year ‘unfair’. This comes as a significant blow as this is the first time since 1956 that the award has not been issued to any player. More important is the fact that the two most consistent recipients of the award Argentian Lionel Messi and Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo will not be able to add to their numbers with Lionel Messi won the last edition in 2019 making it his sixth Ballon D’or after placing first against Liverpool’s Van Dijk and archrival Cristiano Ronaldo who has five Ballon D’or to his name. The pair of Messi and Ronaldo have been long term rival at winning the award for over a decade now with both players having eleven awards between them since 2010 with Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, the only odd winner in 2018.
This year a lot of fans and pundits around the world were sure they would see the introduction of some new names on the podium with the usual rivals finally showing their human nature as age and time take it toll on them as they gradually decline.
Polish international and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandoski will feel hard done in a season where he had shined the brightest with 34 goals in the Bundesliga alone and 14 goals in Champions more goals than the usual winner of the Ballon d’Or. A total of 54 goals from 45 matches in total an average of 1 goal every 60 minutes, while he has played 321 games for the German side scoring 236 goals. He had scored over 100 goals for Borussia Dortmund before moving to German giant Bayern Munich in a free transfer.
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“I believe Robert Lewandowski is playing a fantastic season and he performed maybe the best season in his career, “Unfortunately France Football canceled the Golden Ball which we are not very happy [with] and in the end, it’s not very fair, not just Bayern but also for Robert Lewandowski who might have won.” I believe it’s very important that in a season that, except the French league, [the other leagues] performed through to the end of the season, it has to be possible to give the Golden Ball to the best footballer in the world and of course, I believe in those circumstances Robert would have a good chance to win it in the first time in his career.”
Bayern Munich is on course to win a treble after they defeated Spanish giants Barcelona in the quarterfinal of the Champions League, they’ve already won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, and hope to add the Champions League as their third for the season.
Alternatively, the award jury which has 180 members will select five teams from a shortlists with five players in each position with the formality and team revealed in autumn.