With nine days left to announce the winner for this year’s Ballon d’Or, DAILY POST highlights the three English Premier League, EPL, players who were robbed of the award in the past.
The winner for the Ballon d’Or 2021 will be announced on November 29.
DAILY POST reports that three EPL players deserved to win the Ballon d’Or in the past.
The EPL has been host to a lot of world-class and talented players from across the world.
EPL top clubs, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Arsenal, have had great players in the past and even currently.
Players such as Thierry Henry, Sergio Aguero, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard have all done great exploits in the Premier League in the past and won prizes in the English top-flight league.
However, the most coveted individual award in football, the Ballon d’Or, has not found its way to England too often.
Since the English domestic league was rebranded and remodelled as the EPL in 1992, only two players from the English top-flight league have won the Ballon d’ Or – Liverpool’s Michael Owen (2001) and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo (2008).
DAILY POST highlights three EPL players who had incredible seasons for their clubs in the past but were overlooked for the Ballon d’Or award:
1. Thierry Henry – (Arsenal)
In the 2002-2003 season, the world of football witnessed something bewildering when Juventus’s Pavel Nedved was awarded the Ballon d’Or award ahead of Henry.
Henry had put up mind-boggling numbers that season, scoring 32 goals and registering a stellar 28 assists for the Gunners.
The former France international also had 29 more goal contributions than his Czech counterpart, Nedved.
To say it was the biggest robbery in world football history would be an understatement.
However, despite the snub, Henry continued his impressive display on the pitch for several years.
He finished a surprising third in the 2006 Ballon d’Or race, finishing behind defender Fabio Cannavaro and goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)
In the 2018-2019 season, Van Dijk played in all of Liverpool’s 38 Premier League games.
The Dutch defender averaged 1.0 tackles, 1.1 interceptions, 1.1 offsides and an amazing 5.2 clearances per game.
He was also instrumental in Liverpool’s sixth triumph in the Champions League.
His performances for Jurgen Klopp’s side earned him praise from across the world, with many naming him favourite to win the Ballon d’Or award that year.
However, Van Dijk finished second in the final voting round, losing out on the award to former Barcelona captain, Lionel Messi, by just seven votes.
3. Eric Cantona – (Manchester United)
Having finished in the third position in the Ballon d’Or rankings in the 1992-1993 season with Leeds, Cantona was expected to win the award with Manchester United.
The former France international scored 24 goals and registered 13 assists in 45 appearances across all competitions.
However, the former forward did not even finish in the top three of the Ballon d’Or race as Barcelona’s Hristo Stoichkov won the award, with Juventus’s Roberto Baggio and AC Milan’s Paolo Maldini finishing second and third, respectively.