Ballon d'Or: Ex-Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder slams France Football and overhyped 'fake award'
Posted: 5 December 2018 Time: 13:00
A former Premier League star and FIFA World Cup winner claims the introduction of the Ballon d'Or has been detrimental to the world of football.
The Ballon d'Or or 'Golden Ball' has been awarded since 1956 for the best player in Europe but since 2007, before the title became a global with all professional footballers from around the world being eligible.
Judged by 180 journalists across the globe via a voting system, the 2018 edition marked a momentous occasion as Real Madrid and Croatia superstar Luka Modric ended the decade duopoly of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
While there's been a widespread debate within the mediasphere and fans alike over who the 'best' footballer over the 2017/18 period was, a legend of the France national team feels the notion of an individual honour in a team sport is having a negative impact on the game.
Emmanuel Petit, who won the 1998 World Cup with Les Blues told Planet Football that the Golden Ball is a facade driven by selfishness, individualism and marketing purposes.
"I look at the players I played with in my career and wow, they were amazing, but there were also so many fighters on the pitch," he said.
"These guys who would give everything to win and you see less of these players now. These were big men on the pitch. Now, it became an individual sport rather than a collective sport.
"The press are partly responsible for that by building up players to be superstars when they don't deserve this status and then we have this ridiculous Golden Ball (Ballon d'Or) award.
"There is no meaning to it and every year we have to sit there and celebrate someone winning an individual prize."
The former Chelsea man went on to make reference of the 2018 World Cup winners; "Look at the France team that won the World Cup. They are all talking about trying to win the Ballon d'Or.
"Who cares about this stupid trophy? That is not what football is about. It's only strikers that talk about this trophy.
"Everyone in football should hate this award, but there is so much focus on it. The players know it is good for their salary, their transfer fee and their career, so they don't care about the team awards any more.
"This award is not about the sport of football and the people focused on it show that they only care about money and image. That's it.
"These players need to realise that the Golden Ball is not how they will be remembered, but I'm pretty sure you ask certain players whether they would like to win three Champions League and a World Cup or one Golden Ball….I'm pretty some would take the last option.
"It's all about me. That is so sad. The people in charge can take some of the blame for this because they create this fake award. It should never given so much importance."