Gerrard criticises ‘political decision’ to exclude Suarez from Ballon d’Or

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has criticised what he called FIFA’s political decision not to include former team mate Luis Suárez on their shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or award as the world’s best footballer.

The list, announced earlier this week, had 23 names on it, but not that of the Uruguayan striker, who was banned for four months by FIFA after biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in June.

He only returned to football last weekend, playing in El Clasico against Real Madrid for Barcelona, whom he had joined from Liverpool for a fee the English club said was £75-million.

“He scored 31 goals and was voted best player in the hardest league in the world,” Gerrard said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“So you tell me how he’s not on the Ballon d’Or list? Incredible. He should be fighting Cristiano Ronaldo for it. That’s a fact. I can’t believe it but that’s politics in football isn’t it?”

Gerrard, meanwhile, is waiting to open talks with his only club about a new contract.

“I certainly won’t be retiring this summer,” he said.

“I will play beyond this season. We will have to wait and see if that’s at Liverpool or somewhere else. That’s Liverpool’s decision. If they don’t come then I will see what’s out there.”

Liverpool have struggled so far this season without Suárez, partly because England international striker Daniel Sturridge has been out injured since the end of August and new signing Mario Balotelli has yet to score a league goal.

Praise for Sturridge
“I’m not looking for excuses but there are collective reasons for our stuttering start this time,” Gerrard said.

“We lost a key player, we’ve had a key player injured and other Premier League sides have improved.

“For me, when you talk about potential in this country, Daniel Sturridge is the player with the most. Ability-wise he is possibly the number one [English] striker I’ve played with, when you talk about speed, sharpness and skill and different types of goals.”

Gerrard also has faith in the maverick Balotelli, of whom he says: “He just needs time to score the goals he needs to prove to people he is worthy of staying here. I am not going to judge him after 10 games.

“To come in after Suárez was always going to be a big ask and he’s not feeling sorry for himself. He is working hard, doing extra shooting sessions.”

Sturridge remains unfit ahead of a big eight-day period for Liverpool, who are away to Newcastle on Saturday, Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, then at home to league leaders Chelsea on Saturday week. – Reuters

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Reuters
Guest Author
Advertisting

Test backlog skews SA’s corona stats

With thousands of samples still waiting to be processed, labs are racing to ramp up testing to help the government gain a better idea of how prevalent Covid-19 really is

M&G’s latest Covid-19 projections

Covid-19 numbers are prompting disaster declarations and dramatic action across South Africa this week. All steps should be directed by numbers

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories