The nominees for the Ballon d’Or have been announced and World Cup winner and Ministry of Glove number 1 Iker Casillas, is amongst the candidates up for the prestigious award. He’s one of the many Spanish players on the shortlist but the only member of Union of Goalkeepers to make the cut. The odds of award actually being passed into his grateful hands would appear to be slim. Only once in the 54 year history of the accolade has it gone to a goalie. Lev Yashin was victorious in 1963 with strikers and attacking midfielders forming the vast majority of other recipients down through the years. Despite now incorporating the FIFA World Player of the Year award, it’s no more likely that the brilliant goalkeeper will claim the title on this occasion.
Casillas may be unlikely to win it, but he would certainly be at home amongst the company of such revered football talent. We’ve praised Casillas to the rafters for his contribution to Spain’s march to glory, but in this case the waxing lyrical is warranted. In South Africa, he provided the reliable platform upon which a generally strong defence could prosper. It wasn’t so much quantity of saves he made at the World Cup that impressed but the quality, timing and significance. Whenever a side like Spain are playing, their opponents won’t see much of the ball so how concentration needed to be of the highest order. At times during the tournament, Paraguay, Portugal, Germany and most of all kung fu Holland saw enough of the ball to carve out excellent chances only to be denied by the Spanish captain. Being at Real Madrid for one of the more barren spells in their history hasn’t helped his medal collection or his claims for the title, but very little blame can be apportioned to him for the struggles of the neo-Galacticos era.
Casillas winning the award would be out of left field, but the people lucky enough to have a vote for the award should save a few moments to consider the merits of this legend in the making.