Ballon d’Or: Time for a change

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

It’s Ballon d’Or time once again and Cristiano Ronaldo is favourite to secure the trophy for a fifth time after leading Real Madrid to a La Liga and Champions League double.

The chances are that Ronaldo will win it again and draw level with his great rival Lionel Messi on five trophies each, as the two will have shared the last 10 trophies between them, but isn’t it time that football’s establishment started thinking outside the box and awarded the Ballon d’Or to one of the many other outstanding players on the list?

Ronaldo will always be one of the greatest players of all time and once again he has had another stellar season for both club and country, but to choose Ronaldo again would be to do a disservice to some of the many other players who have been consistently excellent.

Take Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for example, the Gabon international has been in sparkling form for Borussia Dortmund in recent years, hitting 39 and 40 goals in all competition in his last two seasons. He has started this season in equally scintillating form.

Or Eden Hazard, the Belgian was outstanding for Chelsea last season as he put in one match-winning performance after another to fire Antonio Conte’s side to a well-deserved Premier League title.

Hazard’s teammate N’Golo Kante has an equally strong case, having been a key component of a different title winning side for the second successive season – surely it’s no coincidence?

Radamel Falcao is another player worthy of consideration, the Colombian was a goal-scoring machine for Monaco last term, netting 30 goals as they upset big-spending PSG to claim the Ligue 1 title and came close to Champions League success.

Of course, Ronaldo more than matched the achievements of these players as he and Real Madrid claimed European football’s most prestigious prize, but one could argue that the others are more deserving.

Kante and Hazard led Chelsea to glory in a league that is much more competitive than La Liga, while Aubameyang and Falcao continue to prosper with unfashionable sides – a bigger achievement than Ronaldo winning a title in a league that has become virtually a two-horse race or a Champions League while surrounded by 10 other Galacticos.

It’s about time those who vote for the Ballon d’Or winner took off their Ronaldo fanboy blinkers and start considering other players with equally impressive, although less glamorous achievements.