3 defenders who can win the Ballon d'Or this decade
Ballon d'Or is the greatest individual honour a footballer can receive for his performances in a calendar year and as all of you know, it is an award that is highly rated among the football fraternity.
Over the past couple of years, Ballon d'Or has become an award that is usually won by attackers and occasionally, by midfielders. Fabio Cannavaro was the last defender who won the honor way back in 2006. Since then, only Virgil van Dijk, the Liverpool defender, has come close to winning the Ballon d'Or and that was in 2019.
So, it looks like, people are finally changing the way they view defenders and hopefully, instead of coming close, one proper defender might win the Ballon d'Or this decade.
Hence, here we are going to take a look at the three defenders who can follow Cannavaro's footsteps and win football's biggest individual honour this decade.
One of the most promising defenders currently in the game is Matthijs de Ligt. The Dutchman signed for Juventus last summer and in his first season, he has looked really good, especially considering the fact that he had to adapt to the Italian league.
The 20-year-old is already considered a world-class talent at such a young age, so one can see the reason why he might win the Ballon d'Or this decade. Right now, he has a lot to learn and he can do so by watching club captain Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci as not many have had a privilege to line-up alongside them.
One of the best defenders of this generation, Raphael Varane has almost won it all with club and country. He has won the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Copa del Ray, Spanish Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA World Cup. And yet, the Frenchman is just 26-years-old and currently, in his prime.
So, one can understand why he has a shot a winning the Ballon d'Or in the near future. Considering the fact that Real Madrid are serial Champions League winners and that winning the Champions League goes a long way in winning the Ballon d'Or, one can say the Frenchman has a better chance than anyone on this list.
But, for that to happen, the 26-year-old will have to be the most influential player in a side full of stars. And as we all know, that, unfortunately, hasn't happened yet.
Finally, who else but the man who came close to winning the Ballon d'Or last year?
Virgil van Dijk had an impeccable season last year and this season, he has played with a chip on his shoulder, piling even more misery on attackers. The 28-year-old is leading Liverpool's charge towards the first-ever Premier League title for the Reds in 30 years.
Furthermore, Liverpool are currently in contention to win the treble and if Jurgen Klopp's side can win the UEFA Champions League and Premier League this season, who knows, we might see van Dijk winning the Ballon d'Or this year.
The influence Van Dijk has on Liverpool is absolutely immense and whenever he is fit, it is almost impossible to drop him, which is something one might associate with the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Published 06 Feb 2020, 08:21 IST