Ballon D'Or Shortlist: 8 Criminal Omissions and Inclusions
The Ballon d'Or shortlist is available to the public and, predictably, it's an abomination.
Here, we discuss four criminal inclusions—players and managers who simply do not deserve the distinction of making the list—and four criminal omissions—individuals who were somehow inexplicably left off the final draft.
Feel free to agree, disagree or add your own candidates in the comments below!
Omission: Marcello Lippi, Guangzhou Evergrande
If the FIFA Ballon d'Or is a truly global award, then steps must be taken to ensure the entire globe is scoured for remarkable achievements.
That doesn't mean simply adding Luiz Felipe Scolari in to bring diversity to the shortlist. It should really mean checking of emerging footballing nations and honouring them accordingly.
Marcello Lippi has won the Chinese Super League by a landslide with Guangzhou Evergrande and stands in good stead to lead the first Chinese team to an Asian Champions League win, having just drawn the away leg 2-2 in Seoul.
If you're not sold on Lippi, why not Cuca? The man secured Atletico Mineiro's first-ever Copa Libertadores on penalties earlier this year.
Inclusion: Eden Hazard, Chelsea
Eden Hazard hasn't progressed as Chelsea would have liked since moving from Lille, and while he's still an excellent footballer, he doesn't belong on the FIFA Ballon d'Or shortlist.
The Blues may have claimed a European title last year by beating Benfica in the UEFA Europa League final, but Hazard missed the final because of a hamstring injury.
In the Premier League he showed massive inconsistencies and dipped alarmingly in form around the turn of the year—a far cry from the sort of steady stream of performances many others are putting in.
Omission: Marco Reus, Borussia Dortmund
If there's one player that absolutely deserves Eden Hazard's place on the Ballon d'Or shortlist, it's Marco Reus.
The German attacker plays the same position as his Belgian counterpart, had a significantly better 2013 and stands the better player overall.
He became one of Juergen Klopp's key attacking outlets early in the season, grasped the extra responsibility after Mario Goetze went down and is firing on all cylinders right now.
Inclusion: Vicente Del Bosque, Spain
Vicente del Bosque is an easy, safe inclusion most of the time, but Spain's 2013 was actually very forgettable.
La Roja made a meal of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, drawing at home to France, then dropping another two points at home to Finland.
In the Confederations Cup this summer they squeezed past Italy in the semifinal—perhaps undeservedly so—and were soundly beaten by Brazil 3-0 in the final.
When you take into account the successes they've enjoyed, the standards they've set and the competition available, del Bosque had a poor year.
Omission: Diego Simeone, Atletico Madrid
When you take into consideration what Diego Simeone has managed this year, then realise he's been omitted from the Ballon d'Or shortlist, it can really make your blood boil.
The Argentine led Atletico Madrid to a third-place finish in La Liga last year—good for UEFA Champions League football—and then won the Copa del Rey by dispatching fierce rivals Real Madrid in the final.
Despite losing Radamel Falcao this summer and investing little of the €60 million received, Los Colchoneros are keeping pace at the top of the table this year with nine wins from 10 and remain perfect on the European stage.
Give this man some credit.
Inclusion: Jose Mourinho, Real Madrid and Chelsea
Jose Mourinho is a big name, but he hasn't done an awful lot in 2013 when you look rather closely.
He failed to lead Real Madrid to La Decima—the coveted 10th UEFA Champions League victory—lost the Copa del Rey final to rivals Atletico Madrid, lost the UEFA Super Cup to Bayern Munich, got pipped to the Liga title by Barcelona and started a little slowly with Chelsea.
In terms of dealing with players, he managed to alienate Iker Casillas and Pepe from the first-team squad at the Bernabeu, creating serious divisions of loyalty within the dressing room. At Stamford Bridge he's semi-exiled Juan Mata, the club's reigning Player of the Year.
Mou is a brilliant manager—one of the finest—but it wasn't a great year for him.
Omission: David Alaba, Bayern Munich
Perhaps one of the most unsung names at the top of the game, despite a year of consistent brilliance in a position he didn't choose, is David Alaba.
The 21-year-old Austria international has solved Bayern Munich's left-back woes by converting from central midfield to play there and, in the space of 12 months, has grown into a physical, technical phenomenon.
His switch balls, powerful running and excellent crossing allow him to own an entire flank by himself, intimidating each and every winger that challenges him.
Inclusion: Yaya Toure, Manchester City
Yaya Toure is a fantastic footballer, no question, but he doesn't show the requisite consistency to merit a place on the Ballon d'Or shortlist.
The Ivorian can blow hot and cold depending on how he's feeling, and while his performances have certainly picked up under Manuel Pellegrini, there's an entire half-season of underachievements with Roberto Mancini to consider too.
Manchester City have failed to make an impact in Europe beyond the UEFA Champions League group stages. If you can't mix it with the finest on the elite stage, you don't belong here.