Arsenal Verdict: Henry In Golden Balls-Up

New writer ‘tda’ thinks that Arsenal captain (legend, hero, demi-god, etc etc) Thierry Henry deserved the Ballon d’Or. A bit late, but every man’s entitled to their opinion…

Gerard Houlier thinks Fabio Canavarro was not worthy of the title of European Footballer of the Year that was bestowed on the Italian captain at this year’s awards ceremony.

According to the former Liverpool and current Lyon manager, merely captaining your unfancied side to the biggest prize in World football is not enough.

And, strange as it may sound, he is right. It is difficult to see what has Fabio Cannavarro done to merit the title of European player of the year. He had an average end of season at disgraced outfit Juventus before moving to Real Madrid with Fabio Capello, where he has failed to set La Liga alight. The title, again, is player of the year, not of the summer.

It might even be argued that Cannavarro, though solid and consistent throughout the World Cup campaign, was not even Italy’s best player. Others caught the eye far more, especially the tigrish Gennaro Gattuso, a gutsier Roy Keane on speed. How Alex Ferguson may yet rue lavishing £17 million on Michael Carrick when he probably could have snapped up Gattuso for the same amount, if not less.

Houlier reckons Thierry Henry should have got the gong, but is there anything that amazing about banging in 20-odd goals a season for Arsenal every season for as far back as anyone can remember? I mean, when was the last time Henry did not have an amazing season? Would it not be more imaginative to give the award to someone who did something a little out of the ordinary in 2006?

Petr Cech at Chelsea, David Villa at Valencia or even Fulham’s vastly underrated Luis Boa Morte would have been far more daring and accurate decision, but the Ballon D’Or panel have decided to jump on the same kind of bandwagon they jumped on last year when Ronaldinho bagged the prize.

Henry would have been a better choice, especially considering the fact that he has never won the award, and that no French player has won it since Jean-Pierre Papin in 1991. Houlier is right in thinking the esteemed journalists who make up the Ballon’s panel are guilty of failing to think outside the narrow box of celebrity.

What do you guys think? For my money, Arsenal are right in whinging about the fact that Henry has never won the Ballon d’Or, but citing past excellence (at Arsenal, mainly) does you no good – Henry should get it on this year’s achievements, right?

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