Germans and German #Football seemed to be the major winners at the Ballon d'Or awards' ceremony on Monday night in Zurich. They may have missed out on the headline prize that went unsurprisingly to Portugal and Real Madrid's galactico Ronaldo, as the national goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was honoured by receiving a nomination for the shortlist, but did have a part to play in three of the other awards that were presented.
Not only did the women's world player of the year award go to Wolfsburg's Nadine Kessler, but the national team coach Joachim Low received the coach of the year award for men's football and the female equivalent award went to Ralf Kellerman for his work with Kessler's Wolfsburg side. Wolfsburg featured heavily on the night, both from the positive side of the awards related to the impressive work being carried out behind the scenes at the club, but also because of the deeply saddening news concerning the death of one of the men's team members. Junior Malanda, a Belgian under-21 midfielder tragically died as a passenger involved in a car crash near the German city of Bielefeld last Saturday. Kessler paid tribute to Malanda during the acceptance of her award and he has been subsequently paid respect to by others, such as fellow Belgian Romelu Lukaku after he scored in last night's FA Cup tie for Everton against West Ham.
Low was instrumental in engineering the well-knit unit that overcame Brazil so impressively in the World Cup semi-finals last summer and then edged out Argentina in a close final to clinch the trophy itself. He has developed the squad over several years after it seemed that the Germans may be on the slide and for that deserves much acclaim, although in receiving the award he suggested that it was down to the hard work of all of the people behind the scenes in Germany's football system striving to push the national side to greater heights. It was a competitive category as Low pipped the highly fancied Diego Simeone to the award, who had multiple success with Atletico Madrid last season in winning La Liga and coming so close to overcoming Real Madrid in the Champions League final, before their dramatic comeback. #CelebritiesKellerman was a worthy winner of his award after guiding the women's team to the double of the Bundesliga and Champions League for the second year in succession, with Kessler playing a fundamental part in the team's continued success from her midfield role.