The annual shortlisting of players to find out who are the best players in their position was completed on September 3rd 2018 and the awards are soon to be announced on the 24th of September later this month. Like every year there have been some exclusions and inclusions which have raised a few eyebrows.
The controversial omission of Lionel Messi from the ‘Top 3’ players despite his double winning season with Barcelona has made me think if there were any such discrepancies in the 55 players shortlist as well.
Here are the 3 players which I feel are not deserving of a place in the shortlist solely on the basis of their performance last season and the World Cup.
#3 Gianluigi Buffon (Italy, Juventus & PSG)
Yep, I’ve gone for the big one straight away. There is no denying the fact that the Italian veteran is an absolute gold standard when it comes to Goalkeepers and professionals in general, but to say that he was one of the World’s 5 Best Keepers for the season gone by would be wrong.
Firstly, his Italian side was absent from the World Cup, and he was part of an ultimately underwhelming Juventus side in the Champions League. In the Serie A as well he was 7th for clean sheets and not even in the Top 10 for saves. These numbers are not a good reading for the prospective best goalkeeper in the World and very simply put, there could have been another more deserving keeper in his place.
#2 Yerry Mina (Colombia, Barcelona & Everton)
Yerry Mina signed for Barcelona in the January transfer window in 2018 as a young, raw talent from the South Americas who could be moulded into something of a rock at the back for the Catalan side under the right guidance and environment. Then came the day Barca lost their unbeaten streak in La Liga in a 5-4 defeat away at Levante with the Colombian putting in an absolute nightmare of a performance. His Barcelona future was immediately on the line, with a loan away from Catalonia looking like the Best case scenario.
The World Cup arrived and a goal against England in an otherwise average campaign for the Colombians seemed enough to earn him a new club in the form of Everton. To state that he is not a good defender would be daft considering the resources he has, but him being a part of that shortlist when the likes of Lucas Hernandez (France ) and Maguire (England) have missed out is rather odd.
#1 Luis Suarez (Uruguay & Barcelona)
Age seems to be catching up with the Uruguayan finally, despite having a 25 goal+ season last time around, it is rather unsettling to know that he scored only 7 goals between March 2018 and the End of the season in May.
The killer instinct seems to have gone amiss as well with that lighting quick first touch and turn becoming slightly more deliberate as the days go by. To say that he had a very bad season is wrong, but considering the kind of numbers posted by other strikers around Europe(even those who were not shortlisted), it is rather far to say that leaving him out would be right.