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Tangerine Romanista

Ballon d'Or 2014

You'd have to say the 2014 Ballon d'Or list makes for sobering reading for Italian football fans. Not one Italian player included and only one player from an Italian club.

Fifa world men's player of the year shortlist: Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid), Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid), Diego Costa (Spain, Chelsea), Thibaut Courtois (Belgium, Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid), Angel Di Maria (Argentina, Manchester United), Mario Gotze (Germany, Bayern Munich), Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden, Paris St-Germain), Andres Iniesta (Spain, Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany, Real Madrid), Philipp Lahm (Germany, Bayern Munich), Javier Mascherano (Argentina, Barcelona), Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Thomas Muller (Germany, Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich), Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona), Paul Pogba (France, Juventus), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid), Arjen Robben (Netherlands, Bayern Munich), James Rodriguez (Colombia, Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany, Bayern Munich), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast, Manchester City).

Anyone see where the next generation of Buffons, Maldinis, Baggios, Del Pieros and Tottis will come from?  
Lupo Pazzesco

Same old, same old tbh. The players are picked regardless of form in many cases so I'm not too worried for Serie A. Yaya Toure was very hit & miss last season for example. The contenders tend to come from the higher profile leagues anyway and Italy is currently hanging onto fourth (just about).
Tangerine Romanista

Agree it's always going to favour the successful clubs/countries from that calendar year Lupo, but not sure there would be many players from Serie A who could say they're massively disappointed they're not included?

It's interesting to compare to a list from e.g. 2005 (when Italy had 2 home players, and 7 club players nominated in the top 23).

1. Ronaldo de Assis "Ronaldinho"     Brazil             FC Barcelona            
 2. Frank Lampard                     England            Chelsea                
 3. Steven Gerrard                    England            Liverpool              
 4. Thierry Henry                     France             Arsenal                  
 5. Andriy Shevchenko                 Ukraine            Milan AC                
 6. Paolo Maldini                     Italy              Milan AC                
 7. Adriano Ribeiro Leite             Brazil             Internazionale          
 8. Zlatan Ibrahimovic                Sweden             Juventus                
 9. Ricardo Izecson Santos "Kaká"     Brazil             Milan AC                
10. Samuel Eto’o                      Cameroon           FC Barcelona            
    John Terry                        England            Chelsea                  
12. Juninho Pernambucano              Brazil             Olympique Lyon          
13. Claude Makélélé                   France             Chelsea                  
14. Juan Riquelme                     Argentina          Villarreal                
    Petr Cech                         Czech Republic     Chelsea                  
    Didier Drogba                     Ivory Coast        Chelsea                  
    Michael Ballack                   Germany            Bayern Munich            
18. Zinedine Zidane                   France             Real Madrid              
19. Gianluigi Buffon                  Italy              Juventus                  
20. Jamie Carragher                   England            Liverpool                
    Cristiano Ronaldo                 Portugal           Manchester United        
22. Michael Essien                    Ghana              Olympique Lyon / Chelsea  
23. Luis García                       Spain              Liverpool                
    Pavel Nedved                      Czech Republic     Juventus                  

Germany and Spain seem to have made massive strides in recent years and England's representation has also declined as well as Italy.

These things have always been a popularity contest.  They'll get it right sometimes, but also get it spectacularly wrong (see Ronaldo in 2002).

Like football in general, the focus and hype is on a decreasing number of clubs who collect more players at younger ages, leading to a repetitive Champions League.  I miss teams such as Steaua, Red Star and Dynamo Kyiv being a force.

Italian clubs will be better represented in this in future, as there's a number of big clubs who are capable of going far in Europe in the future when you look at their size and following.  Sadly they're performing below potential because of numerous things such as stadiums and youth development.

I wouldn't look too much into this year's nominees since there's only one obvious player going to walk away the winner, some had a good world cup, some are there because of their reputation and the rest are there to make up the numbers. I do think this list might give some people in England and Italy food for thought though. Had they both had a better world cup the list might look different.

Suarez tho.

Where is Totti on the list?
Tangerine Romanista

Still think it's worrying, the financial side of the game obviously explains why more top level players aren't playing at Italian clubs, but Italy always used to produce some of the best players in the world in their position like Buffon, Maldini, Cannavoro, Totti, Baggio, Del Piero, that's not happening to the same extent any more.

The nominations may well be based on club and country success, but is there an Italian midfielder currently playing better than Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm or Bastian Schweinsteiger?

Is there a striker better than Thomas Muller?

I'm not sure there are many players on that list that aren't there on merit.

In 1983 16 leagues were represented in an admittedly larger shortlist.

There were less leagues then as well as this was before the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia broke up.
Tangerine Romanista

Liam wrote:
In 1983 16 leagues were represented in an admittedly larger shortlist.

There were less leagues then as well as this was before the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia broke up.
That's an excellent find Liam, loved one entry in particular that year: Scotland Aberdeen (Gordon Strachan).  

Those were certainly very different days, when the best players from smaller countries stayed much longer in their home country, and the small number of Brazilians and Argentinians playing in Europe, and the restrictions on the number of foreign players per team, left room for homegrown players to establish themselves.

Alexis Sanchez should be on the list. I'm not saying that because he's carrying Arsenal right now or the fact that he had a decent world cup, but he was one of Barcelona's better players last season. If Iniesta and Messi are there Alexis should also be. That's what I was meaning by reputation in my previous post.

Iniesta and David Luiz is in team of the year.

that is a joke right?

did they watch any games this year?

It's FIFA at their trolling best.
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