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Ballon d’Or Preview: Ranking the Top 10

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The Ballon d’Or is an annual football award presented by France Football. With the voting period for the Ballon d’Or over earlier this month, the winner has already been decided. The winner will be revealed on December 2nd. We are only days away.

The award was first developed in 1956 in which Stanley Matthews was crowned the first winner. There are two players in history with the joint most Ballon d’Or wins (5). They both still play today, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The award is voted on each year by a combination of football journalists from around the world along with coaches and captains of national teams.

There are many factors when determining which player has had the best year. Individual performances and team success play immense roles when determining the winner. To say which one is weighted more, is subjective.

These rankings are a reflection of the predicted outcome of the Ballon d’Or voting process.

Stats are reflective of when the voting period ended

10. Mohammed Salah

With two back to back golden boots (joint 1st in 2018/19) in the Premier League, Mohammed Salah is building a reputation of consistency. He already has 6 goals in the Premier League while Liverpool are off to an undefeated start. With two Champions League Finals and one of those a win under his belt, Salah is primed for another great season.

9. Frenkie de Jong

After a noteworthy campaign and an unreal Champions League run with AFC Ajax, Frenkie de Jong earned himself a big money move to FC Barcelona. As a defensive midfielder he isn’t on the scoresheet often, but he averages over 90% pass success rate in all competitions. At Ajax he won the 2018/19 Eredivisie title. He has been named to the FIFA Pro World XI.

8. Eden Hazard

Not only was Eden Hazard electrifying while at Chelsea, he was also one of their most pivotal pieces. He had 9 goals in 2019 at Chelsea before departing for Real Madrid. Injuries have made it difficult for him to adjust, but if his time at Chelsea is any indication then he will be fine. He led Chelsea with a brace to a Europa League title. He was also named to the FIFA Pro World XI.

7. Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling has shined on an already impressive roster at Manchester City. He has been one of their most consistent threats up top. In this year he had more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo with 36. He already has a better goal to game ratio this season (0.62) than last season (0.50). He was in the running for PFA Player of the Year until Virgil van Dijk ran away with it.

6. Bernardo Silva

Pep Guardiola said it best when he referred to Bernardo Silva as “the perfect player”. Silva has an incredible work rate on the pitch and his influence on the game is apparent. He is the engine that makes Manchester City’s midfield run and is a large reason as to why they came back and won the Premier League Title.

5. Alisson Becker

All of Liverpool’s defensive credits cannot be given to van Dijk alone. Alisson Becker has had a large part in that as well. Leading Liverpool to the best defensive record last season and the second best defensive record to the start of this season should not be ignored. He was named to the FIFA Pro World XI as well as winning the Champions League with Liverpool.

4. Cristiano Ronaldo

By now, it is customary to see Messi and Ronaldo in the top three of Ballon d’Or voting, but as they age it looks like we are going to see one or the other. Last year Messi missed out and this year it will be Ronaldo. He has still been exceptional with nearly 30 goals at 34 years of age. He won the Serie A with Juventus and the UEFA Nations League with Portugal, while also being named to the FIFA Pro World XI

3. Sadio Mané

Over this past year, Sadio Mané has proven to be the bigger attacking threat between him and Mohammed Salah on the Liverpool roster. Mané had over 30 goals leading up to voting and has been an offensive spark time and again when Liverpool need him. Winning the Champions League always helps a player’s case.

2. Virgil van Dijk

The Liverpool central defender has quickly proven to be one of the best players in the world. Virgil van Dijk has come in and transformed the Liverpool defense leading them to a win in the Champions League Final. He was named the PFA Player of the Year, UEFA Player of the Year, and to the FIFA Pro World XI.

1. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi has had another “Messi” year. He’s dominated the calendar year with 30+ goals and 10+ assists to his name. On top of another La Liga title, he was voted the “Best FIFA Men’s Player” and named to the FIFA Pro World XI. He is one of the two frontrunners for the award this year.

Featured Image: David Ramos/Getty Images

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Tyler McDonald

Tyler McDonald is a student at Ringling College of Art and Design, where he is studying and pursuing a degree in film. He began his writing career with The Athletes Hub.

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