The most prestigious individual honour in football i.e., the Ballon d’Or, has never been away from controversies and criticism. France Football, the magazine that established this accolade, recently announced their 30-man list, out of which the most productive (read: decorated) player is to bag the privilege. Customarily, it did spark another wildfire of resentment, mainly among Arsenal and Germany national team supporters owing to the unavailability of the king of assists in the list of 30 candidates.
No prizes for guessing after the hint was fished out, Mesut Özil it is who fails to satisfy the guidelines (or whatever it may be) needed to make into the list. The matter of bewail lies in the dearth of a substantial reason which may urge us to believe that the judgment to exclude him was pinpoint. Of course (err, I’d play safe and use ‘most probably’) under the limelight, holding the microphone and the Ballon d’Or award would be one from Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Antoine Griezmann but keeping the German elusive, even from the list of 30 men, was nothing short of a laughable conclusion.
In Arsenal’s late resurgence to finish in the second spot in the league last season which was their highest finish since 2004, Özil played a role which would take some years to be replicated. Dubbed as the best no. 10 in the world, the maestro recorded 19 assists and 6 goals in the Premier League (let’s not forget, he also created 4.2 chances per appearance), apart from bossing the midfield with an unmatchable aura and outstanding soundness. He dictated the Gunners’ play and it would not be unfair to say that he was the best man for Arsène Wenger last season.
The 28-year-old midfielder has picked up where he left off last season in his sizzling start to the 2016-17 campaign as well. In 8 appearances, he has bagged 3 goals and created as many as 18 chances in the league; and a hat-trick against Ludogorets alongside the creation of 5 chances out of 3 appearances are the telling stats that shows that he has met his high yardstick in the Champions League as well. Were the ones nominating the candidates out of their minds?
Apart from his prolific tally at the club level, the veteran was employed in every game for his national side as Germany reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016 before losing out to France. From the very inception of last season to this point of time, the World Cup winner has been incredible in every aspect and with the likes of Dimitri Payet and Jamie Vardy being selected over him, voices of concern have started to hover over the validity of the award, yet again!
(Statistics Credits: Squawka)
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