It is the second month of the new year, football is getting more intense than ever across Europe's top 5 leagues. All clubs are aiming to gather as much points as possible in order to meet their objectives for their campaigns. The Champions League league also returns next week for its Round of 16 encounters.
It is that time of the season when the top footballers lock horns in an intense battle to prove themselves as the best there is in the sport. Barcelona talisman, Lionel Messi emerged on top in this battle last year when he made history by claiming his sixth Ballon d'Or triumph.
This season though, he hasn't reached such a level. The Argentine is enduring a slow outing that has produced just 14 La Liga goals and two Champions League goals, which is a massive fall if you consider that he had 21 and 6 goals respectively at the stage last season.
That has given the opportunity to a number of players to move past him in the race for the prestigious accolade. With their amazing performances, they have shown that they mean business and oneof them could go all the way to pip the Argentine from claiming the Ballon d'Or this season. They are as follows:
#5 Ciro Immobile
While discussing the players who could win the Ballon d'Or every season, the attention often goes to players from the top European clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Juventus. Nevertheless, the exploits of Ciro Immobile this season can't be ignored even though he doesn't play for any of these clubs.
The Lazio striker is without doubt, the hottest attacker across Europe's top 5 leagues at the moment. He currently leads the race for the European Golden Shoe with an incredible 25 goals and six assists to his name from 23 Serie A appearances. He's also scored twice from four games in the Europa League.
Having outscored the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo this season, it would be unfair to underrate his exploits. As a matter of fact, he looks set to give the duo and other elite finishers across Europe a run for their money this season. Who knows? His individual performances could earn him the chance to fight for the Ballon d'Or and probably win it.