THE BALLON D’OR HAS BEEN A DUOPOLY BETWEEN LIONEL MESSI AND CRISTIANO RONALDO

The Ballon d’Or has been a duopoly between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the past 10 years with them sharing 5 awards each. And on the evidence of what we are witnessing this season it is doesn’t look like it is going to be any different though they are a few players who are rightly in the reckoning due to their outstanding performances so far this season. Including the two regulars, winners here are other serious contenders for this year’s award.

Lionel Messi

He has no doubt been the best player so far this season, producing magical performances especially at the start of the season where he was scoring goals for fun in the Spanish La Liga. He also recently became just the 2nd player to reach 100 goals in the Uefa Champions League achieving this landmark in a fewer number of games.  On a whole, maybe his performances have fizzled out a bit compared to his regular high standards we have come to expect and when you also consider his electric start to the season, but he is certainly the current number favorite to win the Ballon d’Or this year and not winning some collective trophies looks like the only thing which might stop him, but this also looks unlikely because his team Barcelona are top of La Liga with a handsome lead and into the quarter  finals of the Champions League with favorable draw so at the moment all looks bright for Messi though we still have a long way to go with the FIFA World Cup coming up in June.

Cristiano Ronaldo

He is currently the most in-form player in the world has been lighting up almost every match he has played in this year with goals. At the start of the season, it looked all doom and gloom for Ronaldo with him struggling at an individual and team level. The team has not exactly been at their best especially in La Liga but Ronaldo’s turn of form has been nothing short of sensational with some pundits already considering him the favorite for this year’s Ballon d’Or because at the moment he looks unstoppable. His team Madrid is still on course to win an unprecedented third Champions League trophy in a row and if they can achieve this feat then it will definitely put Ronaldo on a good stead given the fact he is currently the highest goal scorer in the competition and looks heads-on to win the award this year again. The La Liga and Copa del Rey trophies may already be gone but if Ronaldo can lead his team and country to Champions League and World Cup glory respectively then we will surely be seeing his name in gold when the Ballon d’Or awards come around.

Neymar

After all the fanfare and discussions about Neymar’s record-breaking move from Barcelona to PSG last summer ended, there is definitely no doubt from a football perspective Neymar made the move to be the best player in the World and win the Ballon d’Or. He certainly hasn’t disappointed albeit in a below-par French League and even in the Champions League where he has produced some terrific performances with his team ghosting through the group stage ahead of top dogs Bayern Munich though they were recently knocked out by the current competition holders Real Madrid. Among all this, Neymar has also suffered an ankle injury which has almost ruled him out for the rest of the season and we might only see him again in the World Cup and this is where he might score most of his points. He is the poster boy of the Brazilian team and with they going in as favorites a lot of responsibility will lie on his shoulders and if he can deliver the goods then he will unquestionably be considered when the Ballon d’Or award.

Mohammed Salah

He is the outsider and no one would have dared to mention his name when he switched Rome for Merseyside at the start of the season. His name has been on the lips of every akin football lover or follower throughout this season and there is definitely a very good reason for that. He has shattered and created almost all the records for a new signing in the Premier League and is currently the highest goal scorer in Europe across all competitions which is a truly incredible feat. He has also been producing the goods at the level of the National team leading his country to their first World Cup in 28 years, nobody is expecting them to win the World Cup, but if he can deliver like he has been doing for Liverpool throughout the season than “The Pharoah” as he is known by his fans can pull out a surprise at this year’s Ballon d’Or awards.

Other notable outsiders include Harry Kane, who was the highest goal scorer in 2017 in all competitions combined and has certainly continued producing top performances this year to put him in a favorable position. Kevin De Bruyne has been the shining light of Manchester City’s record-breaking season and will go into the World Cup in a very strong position, his individual stats are not as mind-blowing like the others but his collective trophies might do the trick for him.