5 players (apart from Messi/Ronaldo) who have shown Ballon d’Or-worthy abilities this season
Alongside FIFA’s revamped #TheBest Awards, the Ballon d’Or is seen as the pinnacle of individual achievements for footballers based in Europe.
The award owned by influential football magazine; France Football has a long and proud history and its past winners read like a roll call of some of the greatest footballers to have played the beautiful game on the European continent.
The award has, in the last ten years, become the love child of those two legends: Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi who have shared it equally between themselves and are still in with a shout for this year’s edition.
However, across the continent, some other players have really stepped up this season and could prove to be worthy co-contestants with the eternal duo for the award.
Here is a look at 5 of these players who have shown enough to have their names in the hat:
#5 Mohamed Salah (Liverpool & Egypt)
Such has been the magnificence of the “Pharaoh” that his jump from being a quality player in the Serie A to leading light for one of Europe’s most decorated clubs has been met by disbelief among pundits.
The Egyptian had joined Liverpool at the start of the season from AS Roma for an initial fee of €42m which with bonuses will eventually rise to €50m; a fee that Roma’s sporting director Carlos Monchi has now described as a fee that “does not reflect his value tight now”
Playing from the right side of Liverpool’s attack, Salah has fit into the team like a glove and his confidence can be seen in the way he now takes on players, his intelligent runs, brilliant link up with his teammates and most importantly, his improved goal scoring.
He looks a long way off the shy, uncertain youngster who first came to England as a Chelsea player from Swiss side FC Basel. He is now stronger, more intelligent and more confident in his abilities and Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool are the biggest beneficiaries of this.
His stats for the season are in the world-class Ballon-d’Or-contestant territory as he has plundered 29 goals and made 8 assists in just 32 games.
How well Liverpool performs in the latter stages of the Champions League & how he does with Egypt at the World Cup will determine his chances of winning the coveted award as it is certain that he will not get a league winners’ medal this season.