First thing’s first, let’s get something straight.
The Ballon d’Or is an individual award.
It should be awarded to the best player based on their personal form in the appropriate time frame (calendar year) and their team’s achievements should not be taken into account.
That’s the official criteria.
The ‘Rules of Allocation’ state that the award is presented “according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.”
In reality, team achievements are taken into account by those who cast the votes.
In the past, Barcelona’s success has worked in favour of Lionel Messi and likewise with Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Despite the fact the Messi’s is comfortably ahead of his long-time rival in terms of personal numbers for 2017, Ronaldo is the overwhelming favourite for the next award (one bookmaker has him at 1/100) because of the fact Real Madrid won La Liga and yet another Champions League.
We’re not saying Ronaldo doesn’t deserve the honour of being favourite — his performances in the knockout stages of the Champions League (ten goals) were breathtaking even by his sky-high standards.
But let’s play the rules here for a moment and consider Harry Kane.
As we’ve already stated, team achievements are technically irrelevant and so Spurs’ trophy drought should not impact the England forward’s chances.
With that being said, let’s compare Kane’s 2017 record to runaway favourite Ronaldo.
Both have scored 29 goals in all competitions for their respective clubs.
However, Kane has played three games fewer meaning his goal to game ratio is slightly better than the Portuguese superstar’s.
While a team’s relevant success or failure should be ignored it’s important we consider their standing so we can analyse a player’s efforts in context.
While Spurs are a much improved side under Mauricio Pochettino, it’s fair to say they are not on Real Madrid’s level.
Los Blancos have been the best side in the world in 2017.
Kane’s record becomes more impressive then, when we take into account the fact he’s scored those goals for a comparatively weaker side in a more competitive league.
Though again, Ronaldo’s European exploits bolster his claim significantly — hat-tricks against Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich are not to be underestimated.
The Premier League’s all-time top scorer Alan Shearer knows a thing or two about goalscorers and he’s been mightily impressed with Kane this year.
He told Dream Team: “I said maybe 18 months ago his price tag would be £90m and a lot people raised their eyebrows.
“He’d go for a lot more than that now.”
While Kane is likely to feature somewhere in the Ballon d’Or top 30, he will be way off probable winner Ronaldo.
And once again most will turn a blind eye to the fact that the award’s true purpose has been ignored.
If the Ballon d’Or was judged in precise alignment with the official criteria then the likes of Kane, Edinson Cavani, Dries Mertens would all be in with a shout.
So too Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard.
What more do Toni Kroos and Luka Modric have to do from a midfield perspective to enter the fray?
Messi should really be the favourite… but he isn’t.
Few will complain when Ronaldo wins it (and he will be a worthy winner) but perhaps the criteria should be changed to accurately reflect the voting process to avoid busy rule-readers like us picking holes in the system?
For now Kane will have to make do with a shiny Golden Boot on his mantelpiece.
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