The Ballon d'Or is the most prestigious personal accolade in world football and is awarded at the end of the calendar year. Currently a France Football showpiece, some of the most decorated names in world football have got their hands on the Ballon d'Or over the years, adding to the legend of the prize.
Due to unprecedented circumstances surrounding the coronavirus, the 2020 Ballon d'Or was officially scrapped last month. While all footballing activity was suspended in Europe for the best part of four months and later resumed, several leagues across the continent concluded prematurely due to the pandemic.
Nevertheless, the Ballon d'Or has retained its charm over the years and is the pinnacle of personal accolades in the footballing world. In 2019, Lionel Messi became the first player in history to win the award for the sixth time, as he pipped Virgil van Dijk and arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo to the prize.
Messi and Ronaldo have won a staggering 11 Ballon d'Or awards between them and have shown no signs of slowing down despite being in the twilight years of their respective careers.
However, in recent years, several younger players have also made their mark and look set to get their hands on the award. While it is impossible to predict how a said player's career could turn out, here are five superstars who look set to get their hands on the Ballon d'Or at some point in the future.
#5 Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund, Norway
Norwegian goal machine Erling Haaland has enjoyed a rapid rise to the top in the past 12 months. Having made a name for himself at Molde under current Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Haaland moved to Red Bull Salzburg in January 2019 to continue his development.
The towering striker took the Austrian Bundesliga by storm and also made his presence felt in the Champions League, as he announced himself with a stunning hat-trick against Belgian side Genk.
Haaland is a potent finisher and has the uncanny ability to run in behind defences to get himself into goalscoring positions, while he is also incredibly quick for a player of his stature.
The 20-year-old was coveted by some of the biggest clubs in the world but opted to move to Borussia Dortmund in January 2019, where he has continued to bang in the goals at a startling rate. Haaland is one of Europe's most feared marksmen and could be a future Ballon d'Or winner if he carries on performing like this.
#4 Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund, England
Another Borussia Dortmund player on the list, Jadon Sancho is one of the most gifted young players in world football. The Englishman is capable of scoring goals and creating them from wide areas and has dazzled fans with his trickery on the ball since bursting onto the scene at the age of 17.
Sancho swapped Manchester City for Dortmund in 2017 to get regular game time under his belt and it is safe to say the decision has already paid dividends. The 20-year-old has delivered a series of eye-catching displays in the Bundesliga and is one of the most sought-after players in world football.
Manchester United are reportedly willing to break the British transfer record fee and hand him the #7 shirt to tempt him into moving to Old Trafford this summer. Additionally, the youngster also has keen admirers at Real Madrid and Liverpool, as he continues to turn heads across the continent.
Sancho has all the tools to win the Ballon d'Or in the future and his hopes could be boosted if he secures a big-money move in the coming years.