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COMMENT: Rooney, Milito snub proof Ballon d'Or prestige now over

COMMENT: The Ballon d'Or is no more.

The once prestigious prize, a triumph for France Football magazine, has now been turned into a political, marketing concept for FIFA.

Why they agreed to go partners with FIFA, only the board at France Football will know, but for all the hard work that had seen the Ballon d'Or turned into the most sought after individual prize in the sport, the people behind the decision to merge must hang their heads in shame.

This week's nominations had nothing to do with football and achievement on the pitch - but everything to do with promoting FIFA and the World Cup.

How else could you explain Wayne Rooney's absence? For several weeks last season, the Manchester United striker was the hottest talent on the planet. He stood above Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, the lot of them, as he carried United on his shoulders - before breaking down in Germany.

No matter how poor a World Cup Rooney had, to completely ignore what he achieved during the season is scandalous.

And what do we make of Diego Milito's omission? He was front and centre in Inter Milan's groundbreaking Treble last season, scoring 30 goals in all competition. Every manager in the world wanted him in their team.

Yet, like Rooney, because of a poor World Cup with Argentina, he did not make the nominees list.

How can the panel justify this? More importantly, how can the powerbrokers at France Football justify throwing away the credibility of the Ballon d'Or in such a fashion?

The previous Ballon d'Or wasn't perfect, we all know that. The football knowledge of some of the journalists granted voting rights was embarrassing, it was more a case of who you knew and being able to roll your 'R's' when pronouncing 'Rodriguez' than anything to do with your footie know-how.

But the winner was always credible, the nominees were always credible - and it was never tainted like FIFA's Ballon d'Or has already become after only months in it's existence.

A once great prize is no more. France Football you've sold your legacy down the river.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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