Pardon if you’ve heard this, but I must start off with this claim — Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski is the best attacker on the planet at this very moment. No offense to Cristiano Ronaldo, but he’s not there anymore. Lionel Messi had a resurgence of a year and would be the closest competition and, frankly, I wouldn't be too angry if Lewandowski was second to Messi.
But that’s not the reality — instead, it's far more embarrassing than that.
Lionel Messi, who still has a claim to being the best player on the planet, placed at 4th, right ahead Lewandowski who placed a paltry 5th. Those two have a combined 81 club goals between the two of them. You cannot, and I mean cannot, say there are three better players on the planet than Lionel Messi or Robert Lewandowski.
According to the panel of experts, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Chelsea’s N’golo Kante and Jorginho were ranked as the three finalists.
The Premier League dominated the UEFA's nominees for Men's Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/QRpTwA3R1E— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) August 19, 2021
I’m sorry, what!?!? N’golo Kante isn’t even the best central midfielder out there. There’s zero reason he belongs on this list. Heck, Joshua Kimmich deserves it more than Kante. WhoScored gave Kimmich a domestic 7.57 (and a pristine 7.97 in the UCL) compared to N’golo Kante’s 6.86 (6.86 in the UCL). So Kante, well, he doesn't deserve the spot. How about Jorginho? He’s also somehow worse than Kimmich, coming in with a slightly better than Kante’s 6.88 (and a 7.04 in the UCL).
For the record, UEFA uses the following panelists to drive the voting process:
- 24 coaches of the teams which participated in this summer’s UEFA EURO 2020
- 80 coaches of the clubs that participated in the group stages of the 2020/2021 UEFA Champions League (32) and UEFA Europa League (48)
- 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, one from each of UEFA’s member associations
Do you want to know what this looks like? Giving individuals the trophy because their team succeeded. This also screams of sad pandering to the Premier League, over inflating its valuation yet again. De Bruyne is a playmaker, and maybe he has a claim, but the other two players had no right to be there. They were hardly the best players in their leagues, nonetheless UEFA. Robert Lewandowski shattered a record that was viewed as untouchable for decades, and he did so after missing a number of games. His points-per-game totals essentially ties Messi’s historic 2014/2015 season for Barcelona.
This is the hill I stand on. The list is wrong, plain and simple. This is a colossal embarrassment for UEFA and it frankly degrades the value of this award because whoever wins it was objectively and clearly not the best player in UEFA.
There are only two players who should have any chance of this trophy, and those are Lewandowski or Messi. Jorginho and Kante did not have the individual performances to warrant such a choice.
This list is just a mockery.