Golden Ball and great events. Does Robert Lewandowski have a chance to win?

After the triumph with the Italian team at Euro 2020, Jorginho began to appear in the eyes of many as a sure candidate to win the Golden Ball. As the only player, he belonged to the collection containing the winners of the two most important European tournaments in 2021 – the European championship and the Champions League.

Over time, however, the enthusiasm for the Italian decreased. Now it’s hard to mention him as one of the main favorites. After all, many would not even call him Chelsea’s best player, so how would he win the trophy for the world’s best player?

– It is not up to me whether or not I should get the Golden Ball. However, it would be an incentive for other players to show that scoring is not the only thing that matters – Jorginho himself defended his candidacy.

It’s hard not to agree with him. Goals are not the only ones that matter, but they are the salt of football. The numbers, however, are absolute for the Italian, who is not in the TOP10 of any of the important statistics in terms of individual performance on the Premier League grounds this season. The Italian – although he cannot be denied his great skills – is plunged in an ocean of mediocrity, and something more is expected from the winner of the Golden Ball. Something that will make a difference.

The editorial board of “France Football” – the organizer of the plebiscite – states that the voting should take into account three criteria:

1. Individual and team performances (including trophies).

2. Player class (including talent and fair play).

3. Football career.

It is not only the trophies won with the clubs and national teams that are important here, which is logically dictated – after all, it is an individual award, not a team award. However, this is evidenced not only by the provisions in the regulations, but also – and perhaps especially – by the plebiscite practice.

The first laureate of the Golden Ball received the trophy in 1956 with an empty display case on his account. Stanley Matthews – because we are talking about him – was undoubtedly an outstanding footballer. The title “Magician of Dribbling” does not come out of nowhere. However, when we look at the titles he won, among the team trophies there is only a victory in the FA Cup in 1953.

Three years later, when he was winning the Golden Ball, the Englishman could only dream of playing at the Parc des Princes in the first European Champions Clubs’ Cup final (now the Champions League). Real Madrid defeated the French Stade de Reims 4-3, and the first goal for the “Royal” was scored by the great Alfredo Di Stefano. Opposite him was his later club mate – Raymond “Kopa” Kopaszewski. In the Golden Ball ranking, however, both had to recognize the superiority of the English “Magician”, who went down in history as the first winner of the “France Football” plebiscite.

Over the last 65 years, there have been many surprising or even controversial choices. Even in 1964, when the triumphs in the European Cup with Inter and the European championship with Spain were not enough for the Golden Ball to be won by the great favorite – Luis Suarez. He was overtaken by Denis Law from Manchester United, who himself was a bit surprised by this fact.

Even more shocking (because it’s hard to find another word) was the 1986 election of Igor Belanov. The player from the Soviet Union was undoubtedly talented and extremely fast. But is it the best in the world? Here you can have doubts, although many do not have them and to this day mock the awarding of the Golden Ball to the then footballer of Dynamo Kiev, who left the winner of the European Cup with Bayern Munich in the defeated field – Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff.

However, in order not to keep rummaging in the archives – for many – of football’s prehistory, let’s move to modern times, where during the 10-year domination of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, there were also stormy discussions.

Wesley Sneijder knows something about this. The Dutchman reached the World Cup finals in 2010, and with Inter he won a triple crown – the championship and the Italian Cup, and won the Champions League, eliminating along the way – in the semi-finals – along with his friends FC Barcelona. It was, however, three players from Camp Nou who made it to the podium. Besides Messi, they were Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez.

Three years later it was hot in the camp of Bayern Munich, the freshly baked Champions League winner, in whose colors Franck Ribery was crazy. The Frenchman and his friends hung more medals around their necks – for the German championship, for the national Cup and Super Cup, and for the triumph in the already mentioned Champions League.

Supported by many triumphs, the winger already seemed to be installing a special shelf for the Golden Ball in his estate. Unfortunately for him, it would remain empty to this day. The trophy was won by Cristiano Ronaldo, who in the 2012/13 season did not score anything with Real Madrid but a modest Spanish Super Cup.

– It was as if I had been robbed. It is incomprehensible. I won every trophy, there was nothing else I could do, ‘Ribery recalled years later.

The crime story related to the Golden Ball is somewhat current in the Bayern Munich camp and this year

– The Lewandowski numbers are stunning. It would be a real detective story if he ended his career without winning the Golden Ball, admitted former winner of the plebiscite Michael Owen (you can read more about it HERE – click!).

Last year, “Lewy” was a solid favorite to win the award, but unfortunately it was not awarded for the first time since its inception. So fate can give back to the Pole what it took. The case is now settled and votes have been cast. It remains to wait for the announcement of the results.


About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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