Here’s the thing with pretty much every Most Valuable, Most Outstanding, Most Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-It Player award: Winning it doesn’t necessarily mean you were the best player, or that you definitely had the best season. All it really means is that the voting panel (usually the media) liked you and really liked your performance. It’s no more subjective of an honor than an Oscar, a Grammy or a figure-skating gold medal.
Still, a good MVP argument is almost always irresistible, precisely because it’s all subjective and because we all bring our biases to the table.
In the Barclays Premier League, a trio of candidates appears to be pulling away in the Player of the Year race: Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, Chelsea wing Eden Hazard, and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure.
Retired soccer star Patrick Vieira, a World Cup winner with France and seven-time league champion between the Premier League (England) and Serie A (Italy), believes Toure deserves the nod in 2014.
“When you are voting for the best player, it shouldn’t just be about the number of goals you have scored or the number of assists you have made,” Vieira, who currently works as Head of Elite Development for Man City, told the UK’s Sunday Mirror. “It should also be about whether you have done great things against the biggest teams in the biggest games. If you take that into account, then no one in the Premier League comes close to Yaya Toure.”
In American football terms, Toure — a Muslim from the Ivory Coast — doesn’t just put up big numbers like Tony Romo; he comes up big in his team’s biggest games like Tom Brady.
“People talk about Suarez and Hazard — and let me say that they are two players I really admire — but when it comes to scoring goals, making goals and performing at a high level in the most important matches, they don’t even get close to Yaya,” Vieira added. “We are talking about two terrific players for Liverpool and Chelsea. But Yaya Toure has scored more than 20 goals from central midfield — and as an all-round footballer he has absolutely everything. No-one has come close to him this season.”