x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Lack of nominees for Ballon d’Or a snub to Serie A

Only one Italy player is named, Andrea Pirlo, and only two, Pirlo and Edinson Cavani – formerly at Napoli – appeared in Serie A this year.

Juventus' Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal takes a penalty kick to score his team's second goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Genoa at Juventus Stadium in Turin on October 27, 2013.  AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO
Juventus' Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal takes a penalty kick to score his team's second goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Juventus and Genoa at Juventus Stadium in Turin on October 27, 2013. AFP PHOTO / MARCO BERTORELLO

The shortlist for the 2013 Ballon d’Or, or Fifa World Football of the Year, was released yesterday, a rundown of the 23 players from which national coaches, captains and correspondents will vote for the game’s outstanding individual.

For anybody who holds the Italian game in high regard, the shortlist looks a significant snub. Only one Italy player is named, Andrea Pirlo, and only two, Pirlo and Edinson Cavani – formerly at Napoli – appeared in Serie A this year.

Cavani, like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva – both included on the list – have all recently left Serie A, to join wealthy Paris Saint-Germain, a club whose profile is such that they alone supply three candidates. Juventus, the Italian champions, who reached the same quarter-final stage of the Uefa Champions League last season as did PSG, would be entitled to detect in the list a tendency to favour glamour, reputation and goalscoring above other criteria and indeed a lack of close attention.

While Pirlo has been a driving influence on Juve’s successes, it is hard to argue that, in 2013, he has even been the best central midfield player at Juve, let alone in Italy. The absence of Arturo Vidal from the chosen 23 is a glaring one.

Similarly, Napoli’s Marek Hamsik must wonder what he needs to do for his galvanising contribution to his club’s recent rise to be acknowledged. Serie A may not have a candidate to actually win the Ballon d’Or, but Italian football has been unfairly overlooked otherwise.

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