Will a defender ever win the Ballon d'Or again?

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The 2013 Ballon d'Or shortlist has seen a grand total of two defenders nominated for the award.

Out of the 23 contenders, only Philipp Lahm and Thiago Silva have been considered for the World Player of the Year award, not to mention the complete absence of a single goalkeeper.

It's this lack of recognition for defensive talent which has sparked debates to discover why this is the unfortunate case in modern football. 

A number of football icons have received the trophy since its creation in 1956, and the last defender to actually win the Ballon d'Or dates back to 2006, with Italy's Fabio Cannavaro, the World Cup winner that year, beating Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldinho.

Eight years may seem like the award is well overdue for a defender, since the discovery of Lionel Messi has dominated the recipient list, as the Argentinian has won it four years in succession.

But what is more astounding is the fact not one defender, other than Cannavaro, has lifted the trophy in its entire existence.

The video attached lists the iconic club of winners (try to ignore the dreadful music), and the trend is very clear. Attackers always win the Ballon d'Or, with the exception of Lev Yashin, a goalkeeper.

It's hard to comprehend that in almost 60 years of the award, only one recognised defender being regarded as the world's best footballer, so we ask why?

To begin with, the immediate reason which comes to mind issues the argument of talent in football. It's a fact that forwards are simply better footballers. The game's objective is to score goals, and the good players are the ones that can do that. What makes them great players is the way they can score, and that's what sets forwards apart.

The superior flair, technique and skill initially prompts coaches to assign these players to the more attacking role, and with the focus on goals from off the pitch, the skilled players make football more appealing and enjoyable to watch.

Surely this explains the overload of attackers in this year's shortlist, but what I argue is that defenders do have talent, in its own form, but nevertheless talent.

You could name a number of world class players in this position, who could at least be nominated for the Ballon d'Or.

Sergio Ramos and Pique of Spain spring to mind, even as pivotal members of their country's World and European Cup winning campaigns, they haven't been included.

While Dortmund's Mats Hummels, part of the all-German Champions League final has had a fantastic season, along with Vincent Kompany of Manchester City, to name one more.

It seems people just forget about defenders, too much attention is focused on forwards, it must be even more difficult for full-backs.

Apart from Germany's Lahm, no-one likewise made the cut, and with these defenders adventuring more forward, it almost seems like they are doing this to get more noticed, as full-backs have often been 'left back in the changing rooms' as they say.

Although in recent years, with football becoming more technical and skillful, defenders have been modernised dramatically.

What seems to be happening is, with only the gifted attackers hogging the limelight, defenders have almost succumbed to 'if you can't beat them, join them' philosophy, and maybe the evolution could begin a new era for them, and we could finally see a defender win the Ballon d'Or. 

However for now, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi leading the race for the Ballon d'Or, undoubtedly the world's greatest players, defenders should target more representatives in the shortlist, until the divide of talent balances out, and maybe then they will finally get the recognition they deserve.

 Do you think a defender will ever win the Ballon d'Or again? 

Comment below!

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