TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Tempo was the only Indonesian media chosen by France Football magazine to join the voting for awardees of FIFA Ballon d’Or. Tempo editor Nurdin Saleh became one of 176 journalists who helped to determine the selection of Luka Modric as the world’s best player this year.
Nurdin participated in the voting since 2011, precisely since France Football and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) jointly merged the FIFA World Player of the Year with the Ballon d'Or into FIFA Ballon d'Or.
"At first, I got a recommendation from a Japanese journalist, a friend I knew when I was covering the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Then, I got an e-mail from France Football to take part in the voting in 2011," Nurdin explained.
The previous FIFA best player award was determined by the national team captain and national team coaches throughout the world, while the Ballon d'Or was determined by the voice of sports journalists in a number of countries.
"The voter criteria of FIFA Ballon d'Or were combined since the merger until it was divided again in 2016," Nurdin said.
This year, Nurdin admitted that he was not surprised by Luka Modric's election. According to him, as the Real Madrid midfielder and Croatian national team, Luka was indeed worthy of being the best players in the world.
"Modric only failed once, he could not bring Croatia to win in the 2018 World Cup final," he said.
Nevertheless, Nurdin claimed he did not include Modric as his first choice in the list to France Football. Instead, he preferred Atletico Madrid and France national team striker Antoine Griezmann, while Modric was his second choice.
"Griezmann is also worthy of being a winner. He led France to win the 2018 World Cup and Atletico Madrid in the European League, his achievements were not inferior to Modric," said Nurdin, adding that the other three players on his list were Messi, Ronaldo, and Mbappe.
However, he was not disappointed by the result. From the voting, Luka Modric won 753 points while Griezmann was third with 414 points. The second place was occupied by Cristiano Ronaldo with 476 points.