Lionel Messi wins fifth Ballon d'Or - but tactical voting exposes flaws once again

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Football News

Fortunately for all lovers of the beautiful game, Lionel Messi was the winner of the 2015 Ballon d'Or.

He might not have scored as many goals as Cristiano Ronaldo in the calendar year, but he was omnipresent in Barcelona's rise to the pinnacle of European and world football once more.

In short, he did everything but be the leading scorer.


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Deserved the accolade was, but there is little doubt the award has become more and more tainted in recent years.

For example, there was the time when FIFA reopened voting after Cristiano Ronaldo destroyed Sweden in 2013 during a World Cup qualifier - an unprecedented decision.

Sepp Blatter's excuse that not enough people voted was later exposed as incorrect. Messi had led the voting that year, but FIFA's president was caught on camera embarrassing himself and Ronaldo at an Oxford Union address.

It was obvious that he had to redress the balance somehow, but it left a very sour taste in the mouth at the time.

Fast forward to this year and we've seen an incomprehensible amount of tactical voting - votes designed to hopefully ensure that the favourite doesn't always win.

Consider that Eden Hazard was the name on a number of ballot papers. Of all the UK based choices, it was the Chelsea man who was voted better than Alexis Sanchez and Sergio Aguero despite failing to score since April.

Toni Kroos was picked by German manager Joachim Low, but the Real Madrid midfielder has done barely anything of note in recent memory.

And Neymar only receiving some seven percent of the vote is just preposterous. If anything, the young Brazilian should've been challenging Messi for the top award, not falling well behind Ronaldo.

It brings into sharp focus why the way in which the award is judged is flawed and needs to be rethought - does anyone even know what the criteria for winning the award actually is?

Is it most goals? Most assists? Most successfully completed passes? Most trophies? A mixture of them all or just some of them?

If definable metrics are introduced by which every player is judged, rather than being at the behest of captains, managers and officials that clearly have better things to do with their time, then surely there can be no room for manoeuvre?

Whomever comes out on top is the winner, no question. It would be perfectly easy to administer too, using a points total given for goals scored, assists made, saves made in the case of a goalkeeper, key passes played etc.

The likelihood is Messi would probably still win it, but that's an argument for another time.

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Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo

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