Football fans around the world were left seething after the sport’s most prestigious individual honour, the Ballon d’Or, was cancelled for the first time since 1956.
French Magazine L’Équipe award the Ballon d’Or after a vote among players, coaches and journalists to the best player in the world every year.
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But due to the coronavirus pandemic ad a shift in the football calendar, L’Équipe deemed this year’s title could not be awarded because of an uneven playing field.
For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d’Or will take a break. There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met,” the statement read.
“We believe that such a singular year cannot -and should not- be treated as an ordinary one.”
Fans fume over Ballon d’Or ‘robbery’
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have had a near unbreakable bond with the award dating back to 2008.
Current holder Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Ors at Barcelona, while Ronaldo has won it five times, once at Manchester United and four at Real Madrid.
The only player to break their duopoly since 2008 was Real Madrid’s Luka Modric in 2018.
United States star Megan Rapinoe will also hold on to her title for another year as best women’s player int the world.
Despite the circumstances, the announcement from the magazine has sent shockwaves through the football world.
Many fans were under the impression neither Messi or Ronaldo were favourite to win the award this year with their respective leagues coming to a conclusion after the coronavirus break.
Despite the Champions League still to be played, fans were stunned the award was cancelled so early because Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewondowski and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne were right up there with a chance of taking home the little.
Fans labelled the decision as a ‘robbery’ since the season is not yet over for the top players in the running.
Kevin de bruyne and Lewandowski have been robbed of the Ballond'or, as it has been cancelled.— ً (@KDBallonDor) July 20, 2020
We go again next year! pic.twitter.com/T69j3eSoG5
➤ Robbed in 2013— Bayern Gladiator (@BayernGladiator) July 20, 2020
➤ Robbed in 2014
➤ Robbed in 2020
If Messi, Ronaldo or any Real Madrid player is not in shape to win it, there is no need to give it
Imagine playing good continuously since 2012 but not getting the Ballon d'or because of two certain GOATs.But when it's your best chance to win the prize,they cancelled the award.Feels for you Lewandowski😥Abosolutely Disgraceful.#Ballondor2020#BallonDor#JusticeForLewandowski pic.twitter.com/n2xA1374v8— Raj (@RjDs28) July 20, 2020
Ballon d’Or statement
The Ballon d’Or has not been cancelled since its introduction in 1956.
“Because the fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in the preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be rightly compared, some having seen their season cut radically short, others not,” the statement continued.
“So how can we compare the incomparable?
"Because of our approximately 220 jurors (men and women combined) distributed around the world, some may have been distracted or diverted from their observation due to other priorities and emergencies to manage.
“We did not want to put an indelible asterisk on the prize list like “trophy won in exceptional circumstances due to the Covid-19 health crisis”. We will always prefer a small sprain to our history to a large scar.
"This is the first time since 1956 that the Ballon d'Or has taken a break.”