Argentinian Lionel Messi (left) of Barcelona receives the The Best FIFA Men's Player award from FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Photo: EPA/Matteo Bazzi

DURBAN – There's no disputing that Lionel Messi is one of the most talented players of our time.

But I still cannot really comprehend how he was chosen as the best player in the world for the past season. They adjudged him the best player in the world ahead of Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool.

Obviously, I was very dejected that Sadio Mane, who has been dazzling for both club and country, was not included on the list.

The Senegalese attacker should have been among the top three finalists. But he was not included, and I suspect it was because of his origin.

That’s world football for you. It is owned by the Europeans and the African player stands very little chance of winning the game’s biggest accolade.

These after all are people who handed the World Player of the Year award to Messi on a silver-platter last week in Milan.

Argentinian Lionel Messi (left) of Barcelona receives the The Best FIFA Men's Player award from FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Photo: EPA/Matteo Bazzi
Argentinian Lionel Messi (left) of Barcelona receives the The Best FIFA Men's Player award from FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Photo: EPA/Matteo Bazzi

Truth be told, Van Dijk should have been crowned the best player of the year because he was the best performer in the season on review.

Messi endured a below par showing at the Copa America with Argentina. He only scored one goal in six games and they crumbled in the semi-finals of  the competition. At club level, Barcelona failed to reach the final of the Uefa Champions League.

Messi walked away with the Uefa Champions League Golden Boot but his goals were not enough to help the Catalans to reign supreme in Europe.

Obviously, Barca won the Spanish La Liga and Messi netted the most goals. That’s the only piece of success that Messi can talk about.but it is not adequate to be crowned the best player in the world.

Van Dijk was colossal for the Reds as they knocked Barcelona out of the competition in the last four. He might have not won the league with Liverpool but he was the best player in the English Premier League.

The lanky defender was the pillar of strength for the Reds as they lifted the Uefa Champions League.

Van Dijk was chosen as the best player of the tournament and the best defender but he incomprehensibly came second best to Messi.

The Netherlands succumbed to defeat at the hands of Portugal in the final of the Nations League with Van Dijk immense on their run. That should have been enough for Van Dijk to be crowned the best player in the world but unfortunately he missed out.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, left, and Chelsea's Tammy Abraham go for the ball during the British Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Liverpool, at the Stamford Bridge Stadium, London. Photo: AP Photo/Frank Augstein

Messi is one of the greatest we have ever seen on earth. He is a magician on the field of play.

The Argentinian goal machine has been at the peak of his career for the past decade alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. It will take us some time to witness someone like him but truth be told, Messi was not worthy of the world player of the year gong.

Fifa should consider changing the voting criteria. In most cases captains and coaches of various national teams vote for the players they admire not the players that shone throughout the year.

Statistics should be used to judge the best player in the world. This is the biggest prize for any footballer and deserving players should be chosen.

If Fifa review the voting criteria we will be in situation where we crown players on merit.

@Minenhlecr7


The Mercury

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