7 Contenders for the Ballon d'Or
For the first time in nearly 10 years, the Ballon d'Or, the greatest individual honour in professional football is no longer a two horse race. The last ten Ballon d'Ors have been split evenly between Ronaldo and Messi and, with the exception of a few seasons, those two have been a class apart from the rest of the footballing world.
Not this season though. Of course, they've both had pretty spectacular seasons by mere mortal standards, but they've also fallen short of the lofty standards they set for themselves. Other players are catching up and this might finally be the year a player breaks the duopoly.
Here are seven serious contenders for the Ballon d'Or.
Before we move on to the seven contenders, let us first take a look at a few honourable mentions.
Mohamed Salah: Mo Salah had a phenomenal first season with Liverpool, scoring 32 Premier League goals as part of Liverpool's dynamite attack and scored 10 goals in the Champions League as part of a free-scoring Liverpool side that advanced till the finals in Kiev, breaking many records along the way. However, his World Cup campaign with Egypt fell flat as they were eliminated in the group stage, as Uruguay and Russia advanced at their stead. The World Cup is often a decisive factor as far as the Ballon d'Or is concerned and, for this reason, I believe Salah will not be a Ballon d'Or winner in the near future.
Harry Kane: The England captain has had a fantastic season, in terms of goals scored. 30 goals in the Premier League and 6 in the World Cup, where he helped lead England to a solid fourth place finish. What goes against him is the fact that his trophy cabinet is rather sparse and, of his 6 goals at the World Cup, only one came from open play, and that too was a lucky deflection. A stronger domestic campaign would have seen him become a real contender for the award.
Antoine Griezmann: While he did impress at the world cup, his domestic season with Atletico Madrid was unremarkable and as it is, he is not one of the top contenders.