OPINION: Why Messi’s exclusion from the Balon d’Or top 3 means nothing

Lionel Messi was, for the first time in almost a decade, left out of the FIFA player of the year’s top-three. This year, Real Madrid midfield maestro Luka Modric, Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s Muhammad Salah will contest for glory.

The little Argentine’s exclusion from the top-three surprised many football experts and fans alike. His statistics, in the previous season, accompanied by a domestic double are good enough to land him a Balon d’Or let alone a top-three.

Also read: 4 reasons why Messi is the best of all time

Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, commenting on the situation, said that Messi’s exclusion from the FIFA award top-three list means nothing, and he is absolutely correct. If Messi, with 45 goals, 18 assists, and a domestic double, does not ‘deserve’ to be right there, then the award means absolutely nothing.

It is beyond logic that Muhammad Salah, who scored pretty much the same amount of goals as Messi and won nothing, or Cristiano Ronaldo, who won a UEFA Champions League, have made it but the Barcelona captain, with far superior statistics, has not.

Might be because Messi has set the bar so high that 45 goals a season and a domestic-double is just not good enough for him to be categorised as ‘one of the world’s best’. This shows that the Balon d’Or is superficial. That it has no value if it is not handed to the deserved best in the world that is Lionel Messi.

Luka Modric does have a case. In a world of goal-scoring machines, midfielders do not get enough credit for their work, and given that Modric has been nothing but sensational throughout the last season and during the World Cup 2018, he deserves a Balon d’Or.

But Lionel Messi is the rightful king of the football world. There are levels to the game, and the Argentina is levels above the rest. That is why when there is a minor statistical similarity between him and someone else, he is often ignored, because he is expected to be twice as good, no less.