Ballon d’Or 2019: 4 Favourites To Lift Award

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The Ballon d’Or is the ultimate individual award in football and it remains the dream of most footballers to get their hands on the prestigious award. For the better part of the last decade, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the award, with both these modern era stars winning it five times each. It was Luka Modric who broke the duopoly last year, thanks to his brilliant performances in the World Cup and Champions League.

We are in the last week of the 2018/19 campaign, with only the UEFA Champions League final left to be played. Europe’s top five leagues have come to an end but none of the league winners will feature in the Champions League final. Like the past six years, there is no doubt that European success will have a major say in the voting process.

With the season coming to an end, the players will turn their focus to their duties with their respective countries. The top performers will also have one eye on the Ballon d’Or but it looks like there will be huge possibility of watching new faces on the podium.

Without further ado, let us take a look at the top 4 favourites to win the Ballon d’Or award this season.

#4. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona)Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona – La Liga
Villarreal CF v FC Barcelona – La Liga
The Argentine superstar has consistently proved that he is few notches above the rest with sensational performances throughout the campaign. Messi ended his campaign with 51 goals and 22 assists in all competitions, helping Barcelona win their 8th LaLiga title in the last 11 years.

Despite Barcelona’s failure in the Champions League, Messi tops the scoring charts with 12 goals in the competition. The 31-year-old has already won his 6th Pichichi title and another European Golden Shoe with 36 goals in the league. Moreover, Messi leads the assist charts in the LaLiga and remains one of the top assist providers in Europe.

The Catalan giants were heading into another historic treble but they met with unexpected failure in the Champions League and Copa Del Rey. Despite his consistency, the failure in cup competitions will surely hamper Messi’s hopes in his quest for another Ballon d’Or.
#3. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League
Liverpool FC v Wolverhampton Wanderers – Premier League
Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk has emerged as the strongest candidate to compete with Lionel Messi for the Ballon d’Or this campaign, The Dutch center-back is arguably the best defender in the world and he has played a crucial role for the Reds throughout the season.

Thanks to his exploits at the back, Jurgen Klopp’s men have established themselves as one of the best defensive sides in the current campaign. The Reds have conceded just 22 goals in the 2018/19 Premier League season, which is the best defensive record in the current Premier League campaign.

Van Dijk’s superior defensive abilities at the back makes him one of the best in business but what truly sets him apart is his calm and composed nature at the back. The 27-year-old became the first defender since John Terry in 2005 to win the PFA Player of the Year award for his exploits in the current campaign.

The 27-year-old has also helped Liverpool to progress into the Champions League final. There is no doubt that Van Dijk will be the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or if Liverpool wins the tournament.

#2. Eden Hazard (Chelsea)Chelsea v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League Final
Chelsea v Arsenal – UEFA Europa League Final
Eden Hazard has proven himself as one of the best attackers in Europe with his stellar performances in the current campaign. The Belgian international remains one of the most complete attackers in the world and he has taken his game to a whole new level in the current campaign.

After a sensational World Cup back in 2018, the Belgian star continued his sensational form up front. Chelsea ended up 3rd in the Premier League, won the Europa League and the Blues managed to reach the finals of Carabao Cup. It is crystal clear that Hazard played the most decisive role for Chelsea and he deserves a lot of praise for his exploits.

Hazard had one of his most prolific campaigns in his career so far, as he racked up 21 goals and 17 assists in all competitions. The 28-year-old has been directly involved in 31 goals (16 goals, 15 assists) in the Premier League, which is more than any other player. His exploits earned him PFA Fans’ Player Of The Year and there is no doubt that he deserves a spot in the list..
#1. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)Mbappe has had a fantastic year
Mbappe has had a fantastic year
Kylian Mbappe enjoyed his best individual campaign so far, terrorizing opponents’ rearguard with relative ease. The French attacker has racked up 39 goals and 17 assists in all competitions, proving a fierce competitor to the best forwards in the world.

Mbappe ended second in the race for European Golden Shoe with 33 goals, only behind Lionel Messi. It is crystal clear that the 20-year-old played a pivotal role for PSG In their Ligue 1 win, with the absence of Neymar in the second half of the season.

But the Ligue 1 remains the only trophy PSG won this season as Mbappe failed to help the French champions in their quest for European Glory. PSG were also handed a shock defeat in the finals of the French Cup, which added to the misery of the Ligue 1 giants.

Mbappe has proven himself to be an worthy competitor for the award and he surely deserves a spot in the list, thanks to his incredible performances throughout the season.

Source: independent.ng