The Ballon d’Or has caused some controversy in recent years with glaring omissions from shortlists and teams of the year, as well as some bizarre voting patterns and preferential treatment by coaches or players involved in the voting process. So, to try and bring some credibility back to football’s individual honours, we have created The Blog d’Or, where the writers of The Blog FC have whittled down a 50-man longlist to countdown the real best 23 players of the calendar year. The countdown continues here.
The Blog d’Or #18
Dropping in at number 18 in the Blog d’Or is one of France’s brightest young talents in Paul Pogba, who is looking to become his country’s next great midfielder alongside alumni like Patrick Vieira, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.
2014 was a sensational breakout year for Pogba as he cemented his place in the Juventus’ Serie A-winning starting XI and become an integral cog in the French National team on his way to being handed the Young Player of the Tournament Award at the end of the World Cup.
The 21-year-old’s efforts saw him named in the 23 man shortlist for the 2014 Ballon d’Or, which we can only assume is the Blog d’Or’s slightly less prestigious cousin.
After his relatively innocuous departure from Manchester United in 2012 (now seen as one of the biggest blunders of the Alex Ferguson era), Pogba has become an immensely gifted player and established himself as a very rare breed of player; the complete midfielder.
Despite his lanky physique and languid movements, Pogba possesses a remarkable level of body control that makes him an elegant player to watch with the ball at his feet.
He’s versatile to an almost ridiculous degree; capable of anchoring the midfield or directing the attack with Juve, the Frenchman’s best football comes when he’s given license to do both.
Pogba possesses an outrageous amount of skill combined with a footballing brain that together gifts him with a calmness reserved only for the most experienced of players, defying his tender years.
His style of play fuses two of his country’s greatest talents in Vieira and Zidane, and there’s nothing to say he won’t reach the dizzying heights of his predecessors.
“What Paul is doing at the age of 21 is huge,” said Zidane himself, and it’s easy to forget that he’s still so young because he plays with the mentality of a much older player.
That a footballer of Pogba’s age can influence matches in the way he does, and produce magnificent pieces of individual skill on a weekly basis, there’s no reason to think he can’t go on to become one of the game’s greatest ever players.
Perhaps one day we’ll look back and see Pogba sitting comfortably alongside the Platinis, Vieiras and Zidanes; but for now, he’ll have to settle on the number 18 spot in our list.