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Beccantini And Maldini’s Golden Ball Award
6.10 || Seamus

The only Italian journalist eligible to vote in the election of the yearly Ballon D'Or explains to us why Paolo the Great has never won the coveted award.
A name and a legend; he was born a champion and has always been a predestined, but he has always sweated to achieve everything that he has done, because one of his great talents is humility. He’s the man of the weekend; he seemed finished, but he got back up like a warrior without age and from his helmet pulled out two fantastic goals. The "bomber" Maldini re-launches a hot matter: why a world class player like he is: clean, serious, technical, elegant, gentleman-like has never won the Golden Ball? An enigma which we have tried to explain through the intervention of Roberto Beccantini, the only accredited journalist to vote for this important football contest 'invented' by France Football back in the 1956.

What are the choice criteria for this award?
“The jurors of the Golden Ball are 52, one (at most two, however with only one available ballot) for every European country affiliated to Uefa. Each juror must draft a classification of five players, among the 50 which the direction of “France Football” chooses and spreads in mid-November. The reference criteria relate to the successes of the solar year, where the squad of the player, the personality, talent, fair play and career matter a lot.”

Characteristics which seem to belong to the Milan defender.
“Paolo Maldini finished third in 1994 (Stoichkov, Baggio) and in 2003 (Nedved, Henry). In 2003 I marked him in second place, behind Pavel. Paolo’s problem is simple: he plays in defence. Since 1956, year of the first edition, just one goalkeeper, Lev Jascin, won the Golden Ball (Dino Zoff was second in 1973). Among the defenders, only Franz Beckenbauer (1972, 1976) and Matthias Sammer (1996) won it. The two German players are however considered two “free hitters”, in Sammers’s case, an ex midfielder. Franco Baresi finished second in 1989, behind Marco Van Basten. It’s not fair, but these are the criteria. The goals attract and seduce. We Italians say: what a scandal forgetting Baresi and Maldini. The Spanish arise: and Raul? I could continue, but I hope I proved the point.”

Not even an award for the career?
“In the history of the Golden Ball, only one was given for the career: to Diego Armando Maradona. The intent is clear: repay him of the mistake made in 1986, when he won the World Cup but was not eligible.”

Maldini does not need this award, which can be more or less arguable, because he is a renowned champion in the world, but if from now until December he will manage to invent himself as a goalscorer, maybe those second and third places can transform themselves into a homage to one of the greatest champions still in activity.

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