KARACHI : ‘The Best FIFA Football Awards’ nominees for male players were announced on Monday and Lionel Messi wasn’t in the list of the top three footballers of the 2017-2018, which included Croatian magician Luka Modric, Egyptian king Mohammad Salah and five time Ballon D’or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.
Since 2007, this is the first time Messi has failed to reach the list of top three candidates for FIFA honours.
Every story has two sides and while many agree that there is a genuine argument against Messi’s inclusion in the list, they should not forget there are multiple reasons to consider him as well.
The procedure to vote for The Best awards works by dividing four major elements by the media, by national team coaches, by national coaches and by the fans.
The Barcelona number 10 had an unsuccessful World Cup campaign, but so did Mohammad Salah. Yes, Salah had a weaker side as compared to Messi’s Argentina but nevertheless, this should also be considered in the list of individual performances. Argentina made it as far as Ronaldo’s Portugal did, but the Barcelona forward scored just once and missed a key-penalty.
Ronaldo played a crucial role in this year’s Champions League campaign by becoming the top-scorer of the tournament yet again but failed to score after the quarter-final stage.
At the age of 31, Messi managed to guide Barcelona to another Copa Del Ray title and the 25th La Liga crown in Spain and had an almost invincible season being undefeated in the first 36 league games before a surprise defeat against Levante (a game Messi did not feature in).
Another reason to consider the Argentine was him winning the European Golden Boot for a record fifth time by scoring 45 goals. He managed to net 34 times in La Liga, and the goals in the Champions League and Copa Del Rey pushed his tally for the season to 45 — a goal more than both Salah and Ronaldo.
Meanwhile, Modric scored just two across 43 games.
However, it’s not right to judge Modric in terms of goal-scoring since he’s known for creating the tempo of the game. He helped Croatia reach their first-ever World Cup final and also won the Champions League with Real Madrid, making him the most deserving winner of the award.
Leo Messi managed to outscore every single player in all of Europe’s top leagues but is apparently still not good enough to be considered.
Messi even broke Figo’s overall record of assists in La Liga last season, becoming the first player to provide 150 assist in the La Liga this century. His vision and on-pitch analysis helped his teammates set up 18 goals in all competitions, which was four more than Mo Salah’s, while Modric and Ronaldo managed to assist just eight times each for Real Madrid.
Even in other key areas, Messi completed 253 dribbles compared to Salah’s 144. Modric had 73 and Ronaldo 55. The Barca forward even created more chances than the three candidates, 121 in total. Salah came second in terms of chances created with 97, when Modric created 60 and Ronaldo 54.
With most goals, most assists, most take-ons completed, most shots, most through balls, most goals outside the box, most goals from free-kick goals, it’s absurd that Messi wasn’t nominated this year.
Some say his brilliance has become too ‘normal’, but that’s what Messi does; being extraordinary is just another day’s work for him.
After winning the La Liga and the Copa del Ray with Barcelona, dragging Argentina alone to the World Cup and by doing everything more than the trio, it is unfathomable how Messi was thought to be undeserving of being nominated as the top three contenders for the FIFA award.