Ballon d'Or 2019: 5 Premier League players who could end up on the podium this year
After months of high-intensity battles, the champions of Europe’s top five leagues have all been decided: Barcelona won LaLiga, Juventus lifted their eighth consecutive Serie A title, Paris Saint-Germain dominated the Ligue 1, Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund to the Bundesliga and Manchester City won their second consecutive Premier League trophy.
With the end of club football, however, come transfer speculation and discussions regarding the players who have put in the most impressive displays all season. Many have even begun debates around who should win the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been favourites to clinch the award for a decade, with the talismanic duo winning a staggering five awards each in this period.
While Ronaldo's chances of winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or this year have slimmed down significantly, Messi has a good chance of getting there again. The Barcelona captain, however, has stiff competition from players of Europe's other elite leagues.
A number of Premier League players have put on some eye-catching performances this season, which could improve their rankings in the Ballon d'Or race this year. However, it is to be noted that no player from the English top flight has won the prestigious award in over a decade.
Could this be the year? Only time will tell.
Here, we take a look at five Premier League players who have a chance at finishing in the Ballon d'Or top three this year:
#5 Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
In the last few years, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard has emerged as one of the best players in England. He has consistently appeared to be on the cusp of greatness despite his initial inconsistencies.
This season, the Belgium international has been in scintillating form for the Blues, having netted 19 goals for the club in all competitions. 16 of those goals came in the Premier League and together with his 15 assists, the 28-year-old has contributed to 31 goals in the English top flight this season.
Chelsea finished their domestic season in third place. But while their trophy-less campaign might reduce Hazard's chances of finishing on the podium, a victory over Arsenal in the Europa League final could help him better the odds.