The former Spurs man thinks that certain players are being overlooked for the most prestigious award in football due to their style of play
Jermaine Jenas thinks that the Ballon d’Or has overlooked some great creative players due to its focus on goal-scorers like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The duo have dominated the best player awards for the last decade, with AC Milan and Brazil legend Kaka the last player to claim it from outside the two superstars.
Ronaldo and Messi have been boosted by their club success, where they have both won a host of European and international honours. However, Jenas believes that World Cup winning players in deeper role deserve to be part of the discussion too and he thinks that with the likes of Andres Iniesta and Xavi having never won it, it may be hard for players in deeper roles to get their ultimate recognition.
“You would like to think so [that others can compete for the Ballon d’Or],” BT Sport pundit Jenas told Goal. “I feel like we are in an era where there is a lack of respect to other footballers, even in light of what Messi and Ronaldo have done.
“What they have done is amazing but I feel like at the start of the season we just say whoever is best out of Messi and Ronaldo, gets the award. When you consider that players like Andres Iniesta or Xavi never won the Ballon d’Or then no one can.
“These two players, Messi and Ronaldo, don’t seem human and have had great seasons but if you really look at others players. Like Modric this year, [Franck] Ribery for Bayern a few years ago could have got it and he didn’t get a sniff.
“Now Kante is in that scenario, no matter what he does, he will get some recognition but never THE recognition for what he does. Even off the back of winning the World Cup, someone like Paul Pogba will get more plaudits. He had a great World Cup as well, but there’s a popularity thing as part of it.”
“I just watch football but the personality side of it is big too. [Paul] Pogba announced with Stormzy upon signing for Manchester United and the haircuts, I loved all that stuff. I came from an era where that would be unacceptable, where you kind of got told what to do.
“He puffs out his chest and he says, this is me, this is my style. You look at Kante, he looks like the shyest man in the world and from what I know from people who know him, he is extremely humble. There’s a lot to like about both but when it comes to getting noticed then Pogba is always going to be at the front.
“Pogba sells more shirts and he is big on social media. Kante has had great credit so far, but I don’t think he will ever win the Ballon d’Or.”
Jenas played alongside Modric at Tottenham as part of the team that lifted the club’s last major honour, as they beat Chelsea 2-1 in the League Cup final of 2008. Modric has now been shortlisted for the UEFA Player of the Year award, with Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo, with Messi being left out.
Spurs are now preparing to open their 61,000 seater stadium as they continue to fight for their next major honour, having qualified for the Champions League for the last three seasons.
Jenas is lining up the purchase of a box in the new stadium, but he hopes that the new White Hart Lane development doesn’t take money away from building a competitive first team – and he looked to Arsenal’s example in how not to act after building a new ground.
“I just feel that Wembley isn’t an issue either when they started there or at the moment,” Jenas added. “They will be a little disappointed to not be in their new stadium and dressing room and having that drive to White Hart Lane. It is back to business with the win versus Fulham.
“I like everything about the new stadium. I did the virtual tour. I have spoken to the club to get a couple of seats in one of the lounges. My mother is a massive Spurs fan, I am always working weekends, so they will be for her mostly. I am looking forward to that new era.
“When I first signed for Tottenham, I was part of the development for that club and I knew that I was taking the club from battling mid-table to challenge for Champions League spots and my team did that. Part of it was that they wanted to be what they are now.
“It will be nice to walk in there and think, my team was part of this journey and just enjoy the games there. You hope it will help them on the pitch but you can go they will stick or twist. You hope that it will be about a further push, but part of you thinks, well it needs to be paid for.
“So how long does it take to get to that place. Will they use all the extra revenue to pay off the stadium? All this money will come in but will they spend it on the stadium and not the players. I hope not because the minute they do that then they find themselves in Arsenal’s position, which is two years away from getting into the glory of the Champions League.”
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