Arsene Wenger has made no secret of the fact that he doesn’t like the Ballon d’Or.
In fact, the Arsenal manager came out and said in January that he considers himself an “enemy” of world football’s leading individual award, a prize that he sees as out of place in a team sport.
And when asked about it again on Friday morning, ahead of this weekend’s trip to Sunderland, Wenger criticised those who prioritise personal success – a dig at the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo .
“We have seen many people only thinking about themselves because they are obsessed by Ballon d’Or and not by the team performance,” Wenger said.
“And I believe football is a collective sport and we live already in a world where everything is individualised.
“We want to respect what football is about, first and foremost about the team effort.”
Indeed, when asked about Mesut Ozil being nominated for the France Football award – despite the playmaker actually missing out on the shortlist – Wenger congratulated the German.
In January, Wenger expanded on why he doesn’t like the Ballon d’Or before correctly predicting that Lionel Messi would win the prize.
“Overall I’m not a big fan of it,” added the Arsenal boss. “We are in a team sport. It is not logical just for individual effort. It is a bit contradictory to what is the route of our sport.”
The Ballon d’Or has exclusively belonged to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the last eight years.
But Wenger believed Messi’s Barcelona teammate Neymar is starting to position himself as a challenger for the Golden Ball in the coming years.
“Neymar is starting to show that he will be a competitor for him [Messi].”