4 Ballon d’Or 2019 nominees who didn’t deserve to be on the 30-man shortlist


BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 16: Georginio Wijnaldum of the Netherlands looks on prior to the International Friendly match between Belgium and Netherlands at King Baudouin Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

French football association surprised football fans around the world by including some controversial names in the 30-man Ballon d’Or 2019 shortlist.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Virgil Van Dijk stand face to face as rivals for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award, the 30-man shortlist announced by French Football Association confirmed on Monday.

These are the names everybody knows would be fighting out for the prize. Less appetizing for fans are the inclusions of four stars in particular whom they feel aren’t good enough to be counted among the best players in European football based on their performances from last season.

Huge Lloris is one such name. The Tottenham and France goalkeeper is an error-prone player who almost cost his national side the 2018 FIFA World Cup by dropping a clanger in the final against Croatia when the home side were enjoying a commanding lead of 4-1.

Even his performances for his club do not merit the 32-year-old’s inclusion in the Ballon d’Or shortlist. Spurs lost 20 games last season, the most in the living memory, and the error-prone goalkeeper had some horrible days on the pitch despite the fact that his club made it to the final of the UEFA Champions League.

Mahrez and Wijnaldum didn’t deserve to be on the list

BURTON-UPON-TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City in action during the Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg match between Burton Albion and Manchester City at Pirelli Stadium on January 23, 2019 in Burton-upon-Trent, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez is another star player whose inclusion in the 30-man shortlist has raised eyebrows among the neutrals.

The former Leicester City playmaker scored only 8 goals for the reigning Premier League champions in big competitions last season, only 1 of which came in the Champions League.

His name on the shortlist gives credence to the complaint some football fans have about the nominating process of Ballon d’Or, who accuse the award’s nominating body of taking a team’s successes into account when deciding the inclusion of a player on the final list.

Georginio Wijnaldum, the 28-year-old Liverpool central midfielder, is another example of a player who had an average season last term but has been rewarded based on the success of his club.

The Netherlands international scored only 3 goals in the Premier League last season, only 1 of which came on the road. Also, he provided no assists despite starting 11 games for Liverpool in last season’s Champions League, with his 2 semifinal goals against Barcelona the Dutchman’s only scoring contribution in the Reds’ sixth European triumph.

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Inclusion of Maqruinhos surprising for neutrals

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Marquinhos and PSG team mates are stopped by stewards as they try to celebrate with their fans during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on February 12, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

PSG center-back Marquinhos is the last player whose name on the 30-man shortlist has raised questions about the selection criteria for the Ballon D’Or award.

The 25-year-old featured in 30 Ligue 1 appearances for the Le Parisiens last term, while also representing his side 7 times in Europe.

His performances in the Champions League were bang average as PSG conceded ten goals in 7 games in which the Brazilian featured for them, including their pre-quarterfinal defeat to Manchester United in which the English side scored three goals to dump PSG out of the competition.

Undoubtedly, the Brazilian center-back did brilliantly for PSG in Ligue 1 last term – as the French champions conceded less than a goal per game.

Still, one could question whether those performances were enough to land him a place among the continent’s elite.

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