Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has stated that his midfield superstar Paul Pogba can only win the Ballon d’Or if the perceptions regarding the prestigious award change.
The Portuguese manager was recently asked about his thoughts on Pogba winning the Ballon d’Or. Mourinho replied that the award has been reserved only for goalscorers these past few years, and that perceptions needed to change for Pogba to take home the prize.
“At the moment it looks like if you’re not a goalscorer you cannot win the Ballon d’Or,” said Mourinho in an interview with French outlet SFR.
“If perceptions change then Paul can win it, because Paul is not a goalscorer, he is a midfield player.
“He can score more goals because he is in good conditions to score. For me, Paul is the best medium in the world. Of course he is young, he can still improve. He wants to improve! Which is even better. He has everything he needs around him to be a great player.”
Morinho cited the examples of Franz Beckenbauer, Fabio Cannavaro and Luis Figo as some of the best players to have won the Ballon d’Or, none of whom were out and out strikers.
The Special One does raise a very valid point about the present status of the Ballon d’Or. The award has been monopolized by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the past nine years. The two best players in the world are both prolific goalscorers and play in attacking positions.
Paul Pogba, on the other hand, has played in a central midfield role for most of his career. The Frenchman is a brilliant attacking player, but is not the focal point of attack who smashes in the goals for the team. This may go against the 23-year-old when he eventually does stake a claim to the Ballon d’Or.
The selection process of candidates has been questioned in the past as well. German World Cup winning captain and Bayern Munich full-back Philipp Lahm dubbed the awards a ‘popularity contest for striker’, and on the basis of the evidence, it’s hard to refute that claim.