The Ballon d’Or is the ultimate reward for any footballer.
With France Football cancelling the extravagant event for the calendar year 2020, it disappointed football fans and players alike.
Of course these are uncertain times we find ourselves in and the decision is understandable, but why not construct my own shortlist of players who were most likely to go home with the golden sphere?
Here are my top four contenders for the prize.
Starting off the list is the wunderkind from the streets of Paris, Kylian Mbappe. The 21-year-old is a scoring machine. It can be argued it is because he has teammates such as Neymar and Angel Di Maria alongside him but to score 18 times in only 20 appearances is simply astonishing. And if that is not enough he has netted five times in seven appearances in the Champions League.
He hasn’t harboured all the goals but he also supplied his teammates 17 times this season. We all know that the winner of the illustrious Ballon d’Or is not someone who achieves individual success but also brings his team glory. It is the player’s individual performance that drives his team to a league triumph and in most cases a Champions League trophy and Mbappe certainly matches the criteria.
One of the players who would feel hard done by following last year’s result would be Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman’s dependability at the back has driven his team to their first league win in 30 years.
It would certainly be an astonishing achievement for a centre back to be given the coveted prize but considering the season he has had with Liverpool it would not come as a big surprise. The only reason he was not awarded the trophy last year was because he is not an attacking player and it would be seen as unconventional to give a defender the title of best footballer in the world. He deserved it more last year than this year.
Since his move to Italy, Cristiano Ronaldo hasn’t managed to equal his achievements with former club Real Madrid just yet. Juventus, much like PSG, are stuck in leagues that are ruled by money and lack competition. You can see that the Portuguese superstar yearns for the opportunity to perform in big games, but it seems as though his success boots are absent when the heat is on.
He can’t carry the team to a Champions League final all on his own so players like Paulo Dybala and Matthijs De Ligt will have to step up and share the workload to give their team to glory if Ronaldo wants to match his Argentine rival’s tally of six Ballon d’Ors.
The list would not be complete without the GOAT, regarded by many as the best footballer to ever walk the earth and current holder of the title, Lionel Messi. Although his side have failed to secure the league title this year, you can never count them out for the Champions League.
Messi and his teammates will have to show a great mentality if they want to prevail this year considering they already suffered defeat to Napoli. The Catalans’ dry spell in Europe is concerning but if their little magician can manage to find his form, sparks will be flying.
We would have been quite surprised regardless of who takes the trophy home if it were to be awarded in 2020.