It’s the one they all want to win. It’s a symbol of being one of the very elite in the sport of football. Of course, it’s the Ballon d’Or.
Most sports have their own symbol for reaching the top of the game. In cycling, Le Tour De France has coveted Yellow Jersey for the winner. In Golf, they all want the Green Jacket (after winning the masters). However, greatness will only come to a special few in any given sport. So while these trophies and rewards are highly sought after, not many can say that they have won them.
Football is somewhat unique with it’s Ballon d’Or crown. Often in football players win as a team and lose as a team. The Ballon d’Or, however, presents an opportunity for those incredible individual players and efforts to be recognized. It is a status of being superior and it is a decision not taken lightly by those choosing the winner.
When we think of The Ballon d’Or (especially in recent years) we think of two people primarily. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. These two have won the trophy 5 times each. And funnily enough, their reign of Ballon d’Or greatness was only snapped last year in 2018 by Luka Modric.
The Real Madrid star won the Ballon d’Or 2018 title following a magnificent World Cup display. Not to mention he also won the Champions League with Real Madrid prior to the World Cup.
This Years Main Candidates for the Ballon d’Or
The list of previous Ballon d’Or winners is long and dates back to 1956. The winner was Stanley Matthews of England. Since then, it is fair to say that players from England haven’t been the most dominant for this crown.
In fact, there are 3 Countries who are joint first for most Ballon d’Or victories. Germany, Netherlands and Portugal are tied for pole position with 7 wins each. So how will this year’s competition affect these rankings, if at all?
It’s been an incredible year of football. And some players have risen to the top to earn themselves an undisputed Ballon D’or listing. These candidates are listed below and some of the statistics are amazing.
Lionel Messi. Okay, no surprise that Messi is listed as a candidate. He proved pivotal in Barcelona’s’ La Liga campaign with 36 goals and 15 assists. The Champions League shock of losing to Liverpool could hurt his claim to the throne.
Virgil Van Dijk. Perhaps a surprise listing for many, Van Dijk is one of the few defenders to be in the running for the title. He has been a powerhouse for Liverpool during the 2018/2019 season and helped them to Champions League glory. Liverpool did let the Premier League slip from their grasp this season which could yet hurt his chances.
Cristiano Ronaldo. What Ballon D’or list would be complete without this man? Not only did he help Juventus storm Serie A, but he did so with 21 goals and 11 assists. It’s fair to say he’s a goal-scoring machine, and he has just won the Nations Cup with Portugal. Juventus went crashing out of the Champions League to Ajax, but could it yet be the year of Ronaldo?
Raheem Sterling. With 17 goals in the Premier League this year and 10 assists, he’s in with a shot. It’s easy to get overshadowed at a club as prestigious as Manchester City, but he’s making his mark. With amazing speed and a seemingly good eye for goal this season, he could steal the title.
This Years ‘Could Be’ Candidates
Sergio Aguero. Another Manchester City power player. The Argentine has racked up 21 goals and 8 assists in his role to help Manchester City to Premier League success. He’s a big game player, yet the clubs shock defeat to Tottenham in the Champions League could hurt both players chances.
Kylian Mbappe. The young PSG superstar has been a goal scoring machine this season. He attained a staggering 33 goals and 7 assists in his 2018/2019 journey to Ligue 1 victory with PSG. That’s pretty incredible by anyone’s standards. While PSG walked the Ligue 1 title, they bowed out of the Champions League early again.
How The Bookmakers See It
According to Bet365, Virgil Van Dijk is the red hot favourite for this year’s Ballon d’Or. The bookmaker has him down at 1.83. With his dominance at Liverpool this season some may say this comes as no surprise. Especially with the Champions League victory.
Following Van Dijk is Lionel Messi, with an odd of 2.20. This is unusual considering the next player in line is Mo Salah at an odd of 21.00! It would appear to be a two horse race for the title with these odds in place.
However, the list goes on. Cristiano Ronaldo is tied in 4th for the title favourite with Mo Salah. He also has an odd of 21.00 on Bet365. Behind him are Sadio Mané and Raheem Sterling who both have an odd of 26.00.
This years Ballon D’or is sure to create headlines, and we all can’t wait to see the results!