Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes that the introduction of the Ballon d’Or award has led to players favouring personal glory over the team.
Real Madrid star Luka Modric was the latest recipient of the award in a star-studded ceremony in Paris, becoming the first player other than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to claim the trophy in more than a decade.
However, Petit is not a fan, telling TEAMtalk how the mentality of footballers has changed since he hung up his boots.
“I look at the players I played with in my career and wow, they were amazing, but there were also so many fighters on the pitch.
“These guys who would give everything to win and you see less of these players now. These were big men on the pitch.
“Now, it became an individual sport rather than a collective sport.
“The press are partly responsible for that by building up players to be superstars when they don’t deserve this status and then we have this ridiculous Golden Ball (Ballon d’Or) award.
“There is no meaning to it and every year we have to sit there and celebrate someone winning an individual prize.
“Look at the France team that won the World Cup. They are all talking about trying to win the Ballon d’Or. Who cares about this stupid trophy? That is not what football is about. It’s only strikers that talk about this trophy.
“Everyone in football should hate this award, but there is so much focus on it. The players know it is good for their salary, their transfer fee and their career, so they don’t care about the team awards any more.
“This award is not about the sport of football and the people focused on it show that they only care about money and image. That’s it.
“These players need to realise that the Golden Ball is not how they will be remembered, but I’m pretty sure you ask certain players whether they would like to win three Champions League and a World Cup or one Golden Ball….I’m pretty some would take the last option.
“It’s all about me. That is so sad. The people in charge can take some of the blame for this because they create this fake award. It should never given so much importance.”
Get the latest personalised Arsenal products on our new TEAMtalk Gunners shop!