One of the most important awards in soccer after the FIFA World Cup, the Ballon d’Or (in English Golden Ball) is still waiting for a new owner. The French magazine France Football had been giving this award since 1956 to the player who performed best during the year. In English it is known as the European Footballer of the Year award.
This year we saw among the people involved in the sports media, a lot of indecision about who was going to win this award, especially because during the FIFA World Cup 2006 we saw great professional players, who fought for the Cup in a splendid way. I must be honest and accept that I would really like to see Gianluigi Buffon getting the Ballon d’Or. I loved the work he did with Italy National Team… only 2 goals got in his net in the 7 matches, with the best soccer teams of the world, it’s just amazing! Therefore he has been compared with some of the best goalkeepers in European soccer history.
Right after the World Cup Final, we all knew the Lev Yashin Award for the best Goalkeeper was for the giant (1.91 m) Gigi Buffon. The thing is… if Buffon gets the Golden Ball he would become the first second-division player and the second goalie to receive the award. The first an only goalie to ever win it, was the Soviet legend Lev Yashin. Also, he would be the fifth Italian to achieve this after Moar Sivori (1961), Rivera (1969), Paolo Rossi (1982) and Roberto Baggio (1993).
Although, he is aware that he is one of the favorite options to win the award, he is not really worry about it. Right now, Buffon is more concern about helping his team Juventus _where he had been playing for almost 6 years_ to climb back to the top of the Calcio Italiano, after being relegated from Serie A in Italy’s match-fixing scandal. «Others can talk about the Golden Ball. I’ve got my work cut out for the moment … It’s tough down here but I think I’m hacking it» said the 28 player.
Buffon recently rejected an offer for 33 million euros from Chelsea and decided to stick with Juve rather than do like some of his teammates and leave to other big European clubs. «Juve has been my life for the last few years and I’m used to things at this little outfit», affirmed Gigi, the world most expensive keeper.
Michel Platini the three-time winner (1983 to 1985) of the Golden Ball agreed on making Buffon the European Footballer of the Year when was asked about it. «Given that Italy won the World Cup, I would give it to an Italian… They should give it to Buffon, his outstanding World Cup performances worth recognition» said Platini.
Now, all we have left is waiting for the worldwide journalists poll result… after all, the final result is up to their votes and the bad part is that as I mentioned before we can see in the list of candidates, amazing soccer players. This definitely doesn’t make it any easier to settle the decision. But there are seven most elected players by the fans. Joining Buffon we find in the list, his ex-Juve teammate, Fabio Cannavaro and AC Milan playmaker Andrea Pirlo. Also the England and Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney, Germany and Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack, Arsenal French striker Thierry Henry and last year winner Ronaldinho.
The decision would be announced in Paris, until November 28th. Until then keep supporting your favorite candidate for the Ballon d’Or.