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With the Ballon d'Or standing cancelled for 2020 here's our list of heroes for the season

Who is the greatest of them all?

Every season, this big question is answered by the Group L’Équipe, France Football via their declaration of the Ballon d’Or winner.

2020, however, is extraordinary.

For the first time since 1956, the award is being canceled.

France Football released a statement on 21 July regarding the same.

“It turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met.” 

Due to alteration in rules, the game schedule, format & several other aspects during the COVID-19 period, the game has not been the same.

With certain competitions being called off and seasons cut short, the organization believes that all players have ‘not been in the same boat’. Such inequalities would make comparison & declaration of a winner difficult and unjust.

Therefore, to maintain the prestige and honour of the trophy, it shall not be awarded to anyone for the year 2020.

 

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Astonishing right?

But isn’t an equal disadvantage for all equivalent to no disadvantage at all?

While one may consider it incorrect and unfair to the players who shined bright in 2020 despite the pandemic, one cannot question the credibility and decision of the organization, for it is among the most highly regarded in football.

Their decision to not award the Ballon d’Or is more inclined towards ensuring the long term good. They simply wish to ensure that there is no undeserving award recipient ever.

This, however, can conflict with the idea of every deserving man being awarded.

In a season that has tested players to their limits, FFF is refusing to award the greatness. Some players succeeded in performing, despite the lockdown, the hectic schedule & single-legged format. The decision to not award them is partial. It is like a refusal to acknowledge the effort & performance.

As mentioned above as well, this decision has not been taken well by many for it fails to appreciate the extent to which players had to go to perform, despite the unfavourable circumstances.

Looking back at the season, which went from normal to almost-over to nail-biting, there’s a lot to consider. The performances of several players have been impressive. Their contribution to the teams & the games has been just as good as any other season.

This is a huge achievement for most players – having to maintain discipline, their training & fitness, and being able to even cope-up with the game upon restart.

With the season coming to a close and France Football refusing to crown the best, it’s time we let our discussion begin!

Ranking of the players is generally done via a point system where experts give a score to their players based on several factors including their statistics, contribution, team achievements, and several others.

To begin with, let the numbers do the talking.

Statistically, nothing beats Robert Lewandowski in 2019-20!

The 8-time league winner with Bayern has had the season of his life. At 31 years of age, Lewandowski has a total of 52 goals in 43 appearances this season. His finishing has been sharper than ever & he holds the record for the top goal scorer across the top 5 leagues. He suffered a shin fracture in February, but managed to fully recover during the lockdown and return in full stride!

 

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Another man whom the numbers have been supporting for long is Lionel Messi. The unstoppable Argentine has had another great season and has managed to score 34 goals and make 26 assists across all competition this season. This has all been despite him being injured and out of football for 2 whole months!

 

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Other players with impressive records this season include Kevin De Bruyne, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, and even Sergio Ramos!

 

Statistical records often are not enough to tell how much one is doing for the team. For, there is a lot more in football than just numbers.

This point of view drives us to a conclusion even more intriguing!

The answer lies in Kevin De Bruyne!

The midfielder has been the heart of their respective midfield, controlling the game like never before.

Kevin De Bruyne has only been improving under Pep Guardiola!

He has 21 goals and 13 assists to his name this season, despite battling injury. The 29-year-old has been awarded the man of the match award 10 times in 44 games. His presence on the pitch is very impactful and he is the key to Manchester City’s rapid attacking transitions. His through balls, set pieces, and freekicks haunt opponents!

 

This brings us to the names everyone had been waiting to hear – Jordan Henderson & Sadio Mane!

With Liverpool marching to victory, one cannot afford to overlook the players for their contribution to the same. Sadio Mane has scored 19 goals and made 8 assists. He has been an important block of the team’s attack this season.

Jordan Henderson, on the other hand, has captained the side!

The midfielder’s consistency and passion deserves to be regarded. With 4 goals & 5 assists in the league, Henderson has had his career’s best season. Despite a weaker individual record, his team-performance has led him to be as valuable to the supporters as English legend, Steven Gerrard.

 

Apart from Liverpool, other players making it to the list because of team performances include Karim Benzema & Sergio Ramos.

As flawlessly pursued the title, Benzema had been their go-to-man. He scored 26 goals this season, his highest tally in the past years. His goal scoring form was integral to the club as it helped them beat opponent teams with absolutely thin goal margins.

 

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Captain Sergio Ramos also contributed to the team with his impressive attacking record. He scored 8 goals in the league this season and even became the highest-scoring defender in the history of world football.

 

While the Real Madrid players get their share of appreciation, we are reminded of Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 35-year young man has been running the show in Turin. He has 34 goals in 44 games and is crucial to the Italian champion’s attacking ability.

 

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While the list may seem to go on, the debate might never end.

This, for us, is an opportunity, one to appreciate the game as a whole. It is a calling for us to not make comparisons but cherish all efforts and performances.

 

So Dear FF,

Even though we won’t see our favourite players on your big stage this season, our love for the game will be just the same.

Even though the pretty Ballon d’Or trophy will not change hands, we shall continue to embrace the beauty of the game and value each player’s contribution as much as ever before.

 

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