Over the last couple of days the biggest talking point throughout football has been the omission of English talent from the list of nominations for the much coveted Ballon d’Or.
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all failed to convince the FIFA committee that their performances had been good enough over the last year to warrant a place among the 23 nominees.
But while supporters of the Three Lions debate whether their heroes should be in the running for the biggest individual prize in world football, there can be no debate as to which player is the most surprising exclusion of them all; Inter Milan striker, Diego Milito.
This is the Milito who claimed 30 goals in all competitions last season, only being outscored by Didier Drogba, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Argentine striker scored in every round of the Champions League knockout phases, including a brace in the final against Bayern Munich.
Heck, the former Genoa frontman even scored the goals to secure the Serie A title and Italian Cup victories for good measure.
And yet, despite being arguably Jose Mourinho’s most valuable player as Inter went on to scoop a treble of trophies, the FIFA hierarchy have decided that the 31-year-old doesn’t cut the mustard.
Milito’s exclusion is even more startling when you consider the likes of Asamoah Gyan, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Muller all find themselves on the shortlist.
This trio hardly excelled for their clubs last season (Klose for example scored just three league goals for Bayern Munich) but they all have one thing in common; impressive performances at this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
And as history tells us, those that produce eye catching displays at FIFA’s biggest tournament, despite only playing a maximum of seven matches, become the main contenders for the title – just look at Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro’s victory in 2006.
As mind boggling as it is that Milito isn’t up for the major award, herein lays the reason why.
Diego Maradona opted to play a lone striker during Argentina’s run to the quarter final, handing the starting berth to Real Madrid hotshot Gonzalo Higuain, with son-in-law Sergio Aguero as first reserve.
Milito’s only start of the campaign came in the Blue and Whites dead rubber group game against Greece, a game he failed to find the net in.
Not that the powerful Argentinian is alone in this boat, a certain Wayne Rooney, another forward with a less than inspiring World Cup under his belt, can also count himself hard done by.
All in all it seems fairly safe to conclude that the men who compile the list of contenders are somewhat clueless when it comes to understanding the game of football, their failure to take into account the seasons had by Milito and Rooney highlighting this.
Maybe a change is in order. Perhaps putting together a committee of former professional footballers to make a decision would provide a more logical and sensible outcome.Tags: Ballon d’Or, Diego Milito, Inter Milan, Serie A, Wayne Rooney, World Cup 2010