As a devout fan of the Ballon d'Or award and not just because I'm lucky enough to have been able to vote on behalf of Spanish media for the past three years but because the award is something I've grown up with since 1956 (I was just five when Sir Stanley Matthews scooped the inaugural prize). I have to confess that I struggle to get accustomed to ‘The Best’ award. For those who are not aware, this is a new prize devised by FIFA designed to compete with the longstanding France Football pioneered Ballon d'Or. FIFA also came up with the 1991 ‘FIFA World Player’ award and this failed to challenge the Ballon d'Or and despite a joint venture in 2010 with the Ballon award this, again became an independent prize in 2016 when France Football and FIFA terminated the agreement.
Monday's "The Best" award was won by an excellent player, not necessarily a player who wins games single-handedly but one who creates and constructs play in the centre of the pitch. There are two players in the game which are unanimously deemed to be the best in the world: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. They've both been past winners of all personal awards over the past decade but this year have not been deemed as being the best in the world and their no-show at the event in London will have angered FIFA somewhat as they declined to be part of the audience to sit politely and applaud those winners as members of the crowd and fellow professionals.
No-show in London
This left a bad tase in the mouth but it was something I anticipated with Cristiano having an an ego on par with that of Italian multi millionaire Gianluca Vacchi. In this instance the Portuguese player's no-show was seconded by Lionel Messi. To be honest I wasn't that bothered by their non appearance. I was worried after the split between FIFA and France Football that as time moved on the new award would shunt the Ballon d'Or award into the background or even worse see it's total demise with FIFA being able to fund private jets to fly players in and out to attend the events. As things stand that doesn't seem to be way things are unfolding and as hard as it tries "The Best" is just another football award as most us anxiously await to discover who will win the Ballon d'Or.