NEIL BONNAR: What is the Ballon d'Or good for? Absolutely nothing

We didn't need the Ballon d'Or to tell us Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player of 2013

We didn't need the Ballon d'Or to tell us Cristiano Ronaldo was the best player of 2013

First published in Sport

AS Edwin Starr might have said, had he not decided on war as his topic of song subject, “Ballon d’Or, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.”

The gathering of the world’s best players, press and football dignitaries in Zurich on Monday night sums up much of what is wrong with football.

While the lower echelons of the game is dying, those at the top waste their time and money patting each other on the back and telling us what we already knew.

The media and Twittersphere went bonkers in the lead-up to the occasion.

Hundreds of thousands of words were fired out via every kind of media imaginable to get us interested in what was about to happen.

But what was about to happen? Cristiano Ronaldo was about to be voted the best player of 2013.

Tell us something we didn’t already know.

Oh, and Lionel Messi was the second best and Franck Ribery the third. Shock horror.

And no English players are good to get into a world Xl team. Hold the front page.

The Ballon d’Or is a waste of time and good money in the real world. Unfortunately, football doesn’t live in the real world and this pompous and ceremonial evening is a microcosm of the fantasy world it has become.

Some may say that by writing this column I am adding to the very publicity against which I am stating a case.

They would be right – the difference, of course, being I am stating the opposite case.

If one thing summed up the irrelevance of the evening it was how the two main protagonists in Zurich voted.

Neither Ronaldo nor Messi voted for each other in their top three choices. Yet, in his speech, Messi said Ronaldo deserved the award. How does that work?

There was also much made about the suits worn by the players. Ronaldo wore a traditional tuxedo while Messi plumped for a deep red number.

The fashion writers had a field day.

Their respective love interests had their backs turned to each other. Cue the gossip writers.

Football is about competition on the pitch, not on voting slips.

The only clothes that should be talked about are the club strips they wear, and the only partners who should be talked about are their team-mates.

The Ballon d’Or should be seen for what it is, everybody who is anybody at the top of the world game getting together for a meaningless, glamorous party.

Who comes first, second and third in the vote is interesting, of course. After that, what does it really mean to world football? Ask Edwin Starr...

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