"We can't afford to rely on warped seasons."
A statement that the 2020 Golden Ball will not be awarded was posted on the France Football website on 20 July. Also, the best goalkeeper in the world, the best young player on the planet and the best football player will not receive their awards.
“We didn’t want to put an indelible star next to the award that said 'a trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the COVID-19 health crisis.' We still prefer a little dislocation of our story over a big scar. For the first time since 1956, the Golden Ball paused. This retreat does not delight us, but it seems to be the most responsible and logical step. Protecting the credibility and legitimacy of such an award also implies ensuring its impeccability over time, ”the statement said.
The publication explained that in the current conditions, it would be wrong to vote, since not all players are in equal conditions. In some countries, for example, in France, the 2019/20 season ended ahead of schedule. Accordingly, the players playing there played fewer matches and got fewer opportunities to prove themselves than their rivals from other countries.
“As a rule, it only takes two months (January and February) out of eleven to form an opinion and select the best - this is too little to evaluate and judge, given that other matches took place or will take place later in different conditions and formats, too much different from the usual. We cannot afford to rely on warped seasons so special to select the best. It would be unworthy of our history, ”the publication explained.
Also in France Football noted that some journalists, determining the winners, due to the coronavirus pandemic, will focus on personal problems.
“Some of the 220 members of our jury (both men and women) scattered around the world may have been distracted from their observation mission by other priorities and imperatives,” the media explained.
"Refusal to present the" Golden Ball "- pure bestiality"
The publication's decision to cancel the ceremony caused a mixed reaction in the football world. For example, the famous journalist Vasily Utkin criticized France Football's act. In his opinion, the Golden Ball should have been awarded despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“Refusal to present the Golden Ball is pure bestiality. Euro canceled? So what. All the same, in solidarity with all of Europe, the watched matches are a hundred times more than people saw before the 90s, and the prize was somehow awarded. Season shift? So much the cooler. The more unusual it is, the more important it is to close the season with the name of the hero, ”Utkin wrote in his Telegram channel.
The journalist believes that there are simply no reasonable objections to not awarding the Golden Ball at the end of 2020.
“Only sponsorship and advertising. Not enough views / mentions / hell knows what else. The decision can only be caused by this. It's a pity. "Golden ball" in people's heads. The public is interested in such a personified result, portrait, signature under the season. Well, fools, ”added Utkin.
In turn, Barcelona reacted to the incident with humor. A post appeared on the club's social networks with a photo of Lionel Messi with six Golden Balls and the caption: “We understand this. But in any case, everyone knows who is the best. "
Besides, everyone knows who the best is.https: //t.co/u8f3i307NNpic.twitter.com/mqWt1hvspg
And a little earlier, the president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, stressed that Karim Benzema should receive the Golden Ball at the end of 2020.
Introduction of the award in 1956 and three Soviet winners
The first Golden Ball in history was awarded in 1956. Englishman Stanley Matthews became its owner. The award was initiated by France Football Editor-in-Chief Gabriel Ano, who asked his fellow journalists from other European countries to vote for the best football player in Europe.
Until 1995, only a player from the Old World who played in one of the continental championships could get the Golden Ball. For this reason, the Brazilian Pele and the Argentine Diego Maradona were not nominated for it.
In 1995, the rules were relaxed, and Liberian George Weah became the first player to win the trophy from outside Europe. And starting from 2007, a player from any country participating in any national championship of the world can receive the Golden Ball.
Domestic footballers received the Golden Ball three times. In 1963, Lev Yashin was recognized as the best player in the Old World. The legendary goalkeeper remains to this day the only goalkeeper nominated for the award. In 1975, Dynamo Kiev forward Oleg Blokhin received the Golden Ball, and in 1986, another forward of this team, Igor Belanov.
In 2004, their path was continued by the pupil of Kiev "Dynamo" Andriy Shevchenko from Ukraine, who played at that time for "Milan".
In parallel with the Golden Ball, the FIFA Player of the Year award was presented since 1991. And in 2010, they were combined into a single FIFA Ballon d'Or prize, in which both journalists and coaches with captains of all national teams of the planet received the right to vote.
Since 2016, the two awards have been divided again, but they are almost always received by the same players.
Most of all "Ballons of gold" and "Ballons of gold of FIFA" at the moment in the asset Messi - six. He also took first place in both competitions at the end of 2019. The second line is occupied by Cristiano Ronalu with five Ballon d'Or.