The most coveted individual prize in football is up for grabs with Virgil van Dijk, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo among the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or 2019.
Luka Modric was the winner last year to become the first person in a decade other than Messi and Ronaldo to be recognised as the world’s best player by France Football.
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has been heavily tipped to extend the dominant pair’s fallow period after heroics in the Premier League and Champions League.
In August, van Dijk was voted the UEFA Player of the Year while Lionel Messi was named the FIFA FIFPro Best Men’s Player last month.
Van Dijk polled almost 100 points more than Messi in voting for the UEFA award – 305 to 207 – with Cristiano Ronaldo third with 74 points.
The FIFA FIFPro voting was a lot closer – Messi 46, Van Dijk 38, and Cristiano Ronaldo 36. Ronaldo and Messi have each won the Ballon d’Or five times and finished as runners-up five times.
The Ballon d’Or 2019 contenders:
After nine years at Real Madrid, Ronaldo moved to Juventus last summer in a deal worth £100million looking for a new challenge at the age of 33 and was named Serie A’s most valuable player 10 months later after winning the Scudetto.
Ronaldo finished as club’s top scorer in every domestic competition he competed in before leading Portugal to Uefa Nations League glory over the summer.
The forward scored a hat-trick in the semi-final win over Switzerland before captaining the final win over the Netherlands in Porto.
Virgil Van Dijk:
Van Dijk is widely regarded as the best centre-back in the world. His signing fee looks like a bargain now.
Liverpool has been transformed from a vulnerable defence to among the best in Europe. His calmness in possession is incredible. Vin Dijk went 50 games without being dribbled past which was key to the Liverpool’s last year’s Champions League triumph and their amazing league run.
Barcelona won La Liga once again last year as Messi was the top goal scorer across Europe once again and he provided the most assists in Spain’s top flight.
However, a semi-final second-leg collapse at Anfield saw Barca miss out in the Champions League once again as Liverpool scored 4-0 to seal a remarkable 4-3 aggregate win.
On the international stage, Messi suffered another semi-final exit as Argentina lost 2-0 to Brazil in the Copa America in July before beating Chile in the third-place play-off.
The other 27 nominations are:
Sadio Mane; Sergio Aguero; Frenkie de Jong; Hugo Lloris; Dusan Tadic; Kylian Mbappe; Trent Alexander-Arnold; Donny van de Beek; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Marc-André ter Stegen; Alisson; Matthijs de Ligt; Karim Benzema; Georginio Wijnaldum; Bernardo Silva; Heung-min Son; Robert Lewandowski; Roberto Firmino; Kevin De Bruyne; Antoine Griezmann; Eden Hazard; Joao Felix; Kalidou Koulibaly; Riyad Mahrez; Marquinhos; Mo Salah; Raheem Sterling.
There are 10 nominations for the first-ever “Ballon D’Or” goalkeeper. Liverpool’s Alisson is the overwhelming favourite to take the trophy. The other nominations are Manuel Neuer; Ederson Morães; André Onana; Wojciech Szczesny; Jan Oblak; Kepa Arrizabalaga; Samir Handanovic; Hugo Lloris; Marc-André ter Stegen.
Voting for both of the Ballon d’Or is done by 176 soccer journalists around the world. Each journalist nominates 5 players and first choices are allocated 6 points, second choices 4 points, third 3 points, fourth 2 points and fifth a single point.
The selection panel for the Kopa Trophy comprises all 34 previous winners of the Ballon d’Or.
The winners of the 4 awards will be announced on December 2, in Paris.
According to us, it’s between Messi and Van Dijk as both players finished 2018-19 with amazing performances but we believe Liverpool’s Champions League triumph will give a slight advantage to Virgil Van Dijk.
There’s Alisson’s brilliance in goal, Van Dijk’s dominance in defence and that famous fron…