Sunday, March 21, 2021

Interview with Rasim Movsumzadeh

Interview with Rasim Movsumzadeh Ballon d'Or and FIFA Awards Juror

Interview with Rasim Movsumzadeh
Rasim Movsumzadeh with Franck Ribery

You are well-known writer and journalist, how did your writing career start and did you always want to be involved in the sports media industry?

I visited the stadium for the first time at the age of 6 with my uncle and watched a football match live. I still remember those feelings when I first saw the green field of the stadium. My eyes twinkled at what I saw. Everything on the TV was black and white. In the late 1980s, I started collecting football books, programmes, etc. There was interesting information, facts, figures and also I started making football statistics and I had the idea to share them with other fans. So, my first article was published in a sports newspaper at the age of 15 - then I was still in high school. It's hard to convey those feelings. It was back in the USSR.

By the way, 2021 marks the 30th anniversary of my work as a football journalist. I liked that my name was published in the newspaper. Then I started writing regularly about football.

So my adventure continued. Since then, my articles have published in various countries, in the popular Kicker Magazine, etc. I was also one of the authors of the famous The European Football Yearbook.

I like more to write research and historical articles with facts and figures... "Before the World Cup in leading media, you can read various analytical articles on this tournament. However, we are sure that you will not see this anywhere else. Professional journalist Rasim Movsumzadeh analyzed face-to-face rivalries of the head coaches of all 32 participants of the World Cup and presented the results of these matches" - this is how the Turkish Futbol Extra Magazine announced my research article on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Of course, it's nice to get such feedback from readers, for example, from Marco Von Ah, a former press officer of the Swiss national football team: "I like very much the style of your writing. You bring on your regrets, though, you do not accuse, you do not scream out "scandal", but you show a lot of understanding for a very difficult situation to cope with. Very sad that you belong to a very rare species in the world of modern journalism. Very good that you keep going your way."

Rasim Movsumzadeh
Gianni Infantino and Rasim Movsumzadeh

You are a juror the Ballon d'Or Award. How does a person get selected to become a juror for the top individual award in football?

Of course, the main criterion is international recognition as a journalist and one person from each country is awarded this honor.

France Football selects the best journalists for the Ballon d'Or, and journalists choose the best players.

Ivica Osim, who won 1 point in the 1968 Ballon d'Or poll as a footballer, then represented Yugoslavia as a member of the jury in 1992 and 1993.

Although I did not compete for the Ballon d'Or as a player, I am a member of the award jury since 2000. At that time, the Ballon d'Or was still presented to the best player in Europe. That's why South American players like Pelé and Diego Maradona could not win this award.

Finally, since 2007, the Ballon d'Or has been awarded to the best player in the world. For a while, it was even a FIFA award and was named the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010-2015.

But now there are two different awards, both the Ballon d'Or and The Best FIFA Football Awards are available. By the way, I have participated in various awards ceremonies, for example, of the UEFA, AFC, etc. Also, I was a president of the jury at the Golden Foot Award in 2014, won by Andrés Iniesta. I would like to emphasize the successful work of the AFC, led by Sheik Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, in holding the AFC Annual Awards. For example, I attended a 2019 event in Hong Kong, where it was held in an unforgettable fairy tale atmosphere.

Rasim Movsumzadeh
Rasim Movsumzadeh

The fact about Ivica Osim was also very interesting. How do you know that?

Yes, I have a lot of interesting facts and information about the history of the Ballon d'Or. I can also be considered a big fan of this award.

I even have a copy of the Ballon d'Or Award. I have also been collecting the Ballon d'Or issues of France Football. It would be interesting to hold an exhibition of these magazines.

Who knows, maybe in the future at some university, it will be lucky to hold a seminar about the history of the Ballon d'Or, the most popular award in the most popular sport.

When selecting the best player in the world, what are some of the criteria that you look for?

Is it factors like the number of goals or consistent performance over a season? Selection criteria required from the jury when voting for awards usually include individual and team performances in the calendar year or the season; talent and sportsmanship of the player; the player's overall career.

An important point regarding the voting: you should cast your vote with total impartiality. Of course, in the election process, the player's personal and team achievements during the year or season come to the fore. His role in the success of his team, as well. Of course, the player's scoring ability is also noteworthy. Also, the players who are most mentioned in the media during the voting period may win.

In short, everything is important: statistics, goals, stability, titles, promotion. But let's not forget, "Football loves numbers, but doesn't obey them." These are my words, I always say it.

However, it is especially difficult for goalkeepers to become the best in the world. Therefore, in recent years, in addition to the Ballon d'Or, France Football Magazine has established The Yashin Trophy, and FIFA has established The Best FIFA Goalkeeper Award.

In your opinion, who is the greatest player of all time and which team is the greatest team of all time?

I participated in the election of the France Football for the Ballon d'Or Dream Team in 2020. We selected the best players in different positions and determined the best team for all time.

It is true that Lionel Messi won 792 points, the most than other players in all positions, but he did it without strong competition in the best right-winger position. Unlike him, Pele and Diego Maradona won 655 and 602 points respectively in fierce competition among themselves for the best attacking midfielder position.

But let's not forget the fact that Pelé is a three-time World Cup winner and it is the factor that makes he superior to everyone.

Of course, perhaps thanks to the technologies that will be discovered in the future, it will be possible to objectively determine which of the footballers who played in different periods is better.

As an example of the successful application of technology in football, I can recall that England's famous third goal against West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final (4-2) has caused the biggest controversy in football since then, but Sky's Monday Night Football team in 2016 used statistical data from Opta, plus the Sky Pad touchscreen and virtual reality from EA Sports and they confirmed that then Azerbaijani linesman Tofiq Bahramov made the right decision, the ball to cross the line.

As for the greatest team of all time, for someone is Real Madrid of 1956-1960 or 2016-2018, for some is Santos of 1962-1963, for others is Ajax or Bayern Munich of the 1970s, someone can choose AC Milan of 1989-1990 or even Galatasaray of 2000, some can choose Barcelona of 2009, which won 6 trophies a year, and even Bayern Munich of 2020-2021.

As for the national teams, Brazil of 1970 or Spain of 2008-2012, which won two consecutive European Championship and one World Cup title, can be considered "the greatest".

But I would choose a team of a country that is relatively small in terms of both territory and population, has achieved historic success at a time when money was not the main criterion in football. Of course, this is Hungary of 1950-1954 - by the way, "Magnificent Magyars" didn't lose 30 consecutive matches at that time, and this achievement was a world record until 1993.

Thank you

Interview with Soccerphile.com

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