Last week the 23-man shortlist was announced for the 2014 Ballon D'Or. Does anyone even care anymore?
FIFA's supposed showpiece individual award has become tarnished in recent years for a variety of reasons. For the lay football supporter, it would actually be the decent thing for Sepp Blatter and his cronies to identify the full criteria that denotes who wins the award.
What is the criteria?
Is it awarded for goals scored, trophies won, an exceptional level of team play? Or a mixture of all three? Certainly in the past there has been enough grey areas to argue against any previous winners walking away with the trophy.
The farcical nature of the award hit new heights last year when, voting was reopened after Cristiano Ronaldo's exceptional World Cup play-off-winning performance for Portugal against Sweden.
It was seen by many as a token gesture by FIFA after Sepp Blatter had embarrassed the Portuguese at an Oxford University talk. Given that Ronaldo was quite obviously in better form at the time than Lionel Messi - who it was said had won the vote before it was reopened - it was quite obvious who would take the title.
A tainted victory? Quite possibly, but again a decision that does FIFA no favours whatsoever.
Who's better, who's best?
And what of Franck Ribery, who finished a distant third in that vote? Did a Champions League, Bundesliga and goals galore mean nothing at all?
When Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta were in their pomp a few years ago, it's arguable that there weren't any finer exponents on planet football at the time, yet their colleague Messi triumphed because of his unbelievable ratio of goals to games.
Fast forward to this year and we have Ronaldo again scoring at a rate of knots. With a La Decima Champions League success thrown in, he remains many peoples favourite for a second Ballon in a row.
Lahm the obvious choice
But to completely dismiss the German World Cup triumph in Brazil is yet another reason why this years edition cannot be taken seriously.
If the consistent excellence of Philipp Lahm is worth nothing for instance, then we may as well all go home. Perhaps it's time to rename the accolade: Ballon B'Ore anyone?
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