We live in a football environment where the majority of individual awards in football go to attackers or goal scorers. As a result, it is critical to determine whether attackers are more likely to win individual accolades in football.
The Ballon d’Or is an award given to the best player in the world. The Golden Ball Award is given to the best of the best. FIFA’s Best. The winner of the UEFA Footballer of the Year award. Football may be a team sport, but it smells like individual crowns more than most sports.
From the most prestigious awards, such as the coveted Ballon d’Or, to even a league player of the month award, every football player’s blissful dream is to be recognized for something other than team success.
However, there may be an unfair reality within the limits of these particular royalties.
Defenders Are Less Considered For Individual Awards in Football
As we say, the facts speak for themselves. Only one goalkeeper in history, the famous Lev Yashin, has won the Ballon d’Or. Only three defenders have ever touched it: Franz Beckenbauer, Matthias Sammer, and Fabio Cannavaro.
A surprising majority of the players who have won the mercurial award have been attackers and midfielders. It’s not the midfielders who make a difference.
While there are specialized awards such as the golden glove for the best goalkeepers, and defensive spots in the World XI are prized by those who receive them, it is unfortunate that these players are rarely recognized for their contributions to a team’s cause, despite the fact that they are just as important, if not more so, at times.
🗓—August 16, 2003: an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo made his Manchester United debut.
He won the league. He won the Champions League. He won the FA Cup. He won the Club World Cup. He won the Puskas. He won the Ballon d'Or. He became a legend 🔴 pic.twitter.com/FakfKxMISn
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 16, 2021
The Real Impacts of Defenders
One simply needs to look at the last three seasons in England to see how significant a single outstanding defender, much alone an entire defense, can be for a team.
The emergence of Harry Maguire at Manchester United pushed them out of obscurity and back among the big boys.
The arrival of Ruben Dias at Manchester City propelled them to the Champions League final, allowing them to recapture the title.
The arrival of Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool was what caused City to lose their title in the first place. Van Dijk has, without a doubt, altered Liverpool since his arrival.
In 2019, Van Dijk in particular was spectacular, earning him Ballon d’Or nominations. He finished second to Lionel Messi, which some saw as an injustice given van Dijk’s undeniable role in Liverpool’s Champions League triumph and 97-point league run, which would have been enough to capture the title in any other season, barring Pep Guardiola’s 98-point Man City.
However, it does not end there. It begins with man of the match honours when a defender or defensive midfielder has a fantastic game only to be denied by a striker who scores the game-winning goal.
Or, to put it another way, it starts when our reactions to the grunt work of a sliding tackle or an aerial duel are subdued compared to our gigantic decibels when the attackers score even a single point.
The Need for Change
In football, are attackers more likely to win individual awards? It’s almost certain. In football, attacking goal scorers are given more credit than defenders.
Defenders, on the other hand, should be immensely proud of their contribution to the game. And no award may be adequate for it.
Individual awards are usually decided by popular vote. As a result, we have the authority to choose who receives an award.
As a result, the shift in how we regard individual success in football begins with me and you. It’s a lot simpler for goal scorers to win your heart once they’ve scored a goal.
Defenders, on the other hand, ought to be recognized just as much as attackers who score goals. Only then will we be able to have fair winners of individual football awards. If this were not the case, goal scorers would continue to dominate individual accolades in football for the rest of its existence.