2020 Ballon d'Or Award Cancelled
Sorry, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and all other Ballon d'Or hopefuls — the most prestigious prize in soccer won't be awarded this year.
France Football, the publication behind the award, explained the decision in a statement Monday.
"For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d’Or will take a break. There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met.
"We believe that such a singular year cannot – and should not – be treated as an ordinary one."
With the COVID-19 pandemic completely altering the 2020 sports landscape, France Football went on to cite abnormal conditions as evidence to scrap the award.
These conditions included matches played without fans, tournament format changes, and the implementation of five substitutes.
"To avoid overly convoluted calculations and projections, we chose the least bad of the options."
FOX Soccer analyst Alexi Lalas isn't a fan of cancelling the award and thinks an opportunity is being missed.
"The reality is that 2020 will forever have an asterisk associated. But that doesn’t mean performances don’t deserve recognition or aren’t worthy of traditional awards. Adjusting to the challenges that life throws our way, on or off the field, is a valuable skill and one to be celebrated."
The news comes as a blow for the usual suspects in Messi and Ronaldo, but Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski might be the most put-out, as Lalas points out:
"It’s a shame that the Ballon d’Or is cancelled because I think Robert Lewandowski had a great chance to win and break up the Messi - Ronaldo - La Liga dominance."
While Messi has taken the award home 6 times and Ronaldo has taken it home 5 times, Lewandowski appeared poised to break through for the first time.
Lewandowski had put together a career year with 51 goals in 43 matches across all competitions, leading Bayern to the German Bundesliga title, German Cup crown, and is presently awaiting the resumption of the Champions League knockout rounds.
Nevertheless, it appears the Polish forward will have to try his luck again next season. For now, the award-holders will get to keep their respective titles for another year.
That includes U.S. Women’s National Team standout Megan Rapinoe, who claimed the Ballon d’Or Feminin last year.
In place of the individual awards, France Football will compile a "Dream Team" at the end of the year, consisting of 11 players chosen by the usual Ballon d’Or jury.
Until then, congrats to the repeat Ballon d'Or winners.