Not surprisingly, Lionel Messi is the Golden Ball 2019. Monday night, the Argentine striker won this distinction for the sixth time, much to the chagrin of Virginia Phulpin. For our sports editorialist, this award encourages individualism on the football field by recognizing only individual performance and not the radiation within a team or the ability to train others in its wake.
"An individual trophy in a team sport, I'll never get there, there are so many bad effects: it promotes individualism on the field, clans within a team, and so on. But I will not make the revolution alone in my corner, so there is Ballon d'Or.
And for me, the sixth coronation of Lionel Messi shows how far we have come to the end of the logic of individualism. If we reward the best player in a generation, all right. The Golden Ball is awarded once to Lionel Messi, once to Cristiano Ronaldo, and one alternates until the end of their careers to designate at the end the best player in history.
"What matters is the individual technical performance"
But this Golden Ball is supposed to reward the best player of the year. What did Lionel Messi earn from his team in 2019? Yes, FC Barcelona is Spain's champion. But that's all. The Catalans sank against Liverpool in the Champions League, and Messi with them. Who also experienced a failure at the Copa America with Argentina. This proves that what counts are the goals scored and the individual technical performances, not the radiation on the team and the ability to train everyone in its wake. And that is what poses a problem: it negates the philosophy of football.
That's not why I would have preferred a Liverpool player to be crowned. Because precisely, what proves that Liverpool is a real football team is that none of its European champions won it. Seven Reds players were in the top 30 finalists, so that scatters the votes. And so much the better, because it allows them to focus on the collective, and not on the individual reward that becomes an obsession.
"Would Messi exchange his Golden Balls for a World Cup?"
It also avoids seeing what's going on at FC Barcelona since the start of the season. Lionel Messi ostensibly ostracizes Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman may be too dangerous for his personal statistics. So often, we see the Argentinean forget it on the ground. In Liverpool, on the contrary, we move forward together. And nobody comes out to the point of being Ballon d'Or. Or rather, everyone stands out. It was the strength of the collective of the Blues who had also prevented a Frenchman from being crowned last year, despite a title of Champions of the world.
I would be curious to know if Lionel Messi would trade his six Ballons d'Or against a World Cup. I hope so, but I'm afraid not. "