Ballon d'Or 2019: Ranking the top five favorites - August 2019
After a long summer break, a new season of footballing activity is almost upon us as clubs get set to resume hostilities for the next nine months.
Beyond matters on the field, it is also a period for handing out of individual accolades, as players get rewarded for their performances last season.
Prestigious awards like the UEFA and FIFA Best Player as well as the Ballon d'Or would be up for grabs in the next couple of months.
The Ballon d'Or has been handed out every year since 1956 and is widely considered by many to be the highest individual honor a player can achieve.
The awards were merged with the FIFA World Best Best Player in 2010 to become the FIFA Ballon d'Or and this was the status quo maintained for the next five years until it was returned to French football media outfit France Football in 2015.
The procedure for winning the award is pretty straightforward, as the first list of nominees is released by France Football, then a panel of select journalists, as well as national team coaches and captains vote for their preferred top three candidates, with five points awarded for every time a player is voted first, three for second and one point for every third-place vote.
The total points accrued by each player are then tallied and the winner would be announced at a gala.
Every year, the race for the Ballon d'Or is usually a keenly contested one and with numerous football competitions having taken place over the last one year, players had multiple opportunities to sake their claim.
The awards gala are usually held in December, and with just over five months to go, we shall be taking a look at the top five favorites For the 2019 Ballon d'Or.
#5 Bernardo Silva (Portugal/Manchester City)
Owing to the abundance of talent in midfield at City, the Portuguese international was mostly used as a substitute in his debut season but made 35 appearances as the Cityzens conquered all before them to the League title.
Last season, an early long-term injury to Kevin de Bruyne offered Bernardo Silva an opportunity to excel and it was one he grabbed with both hands, starring as the creative force for Pep Guardiola, with Manchester City once again defending their league title and going one further by becoming the first club in English football history to win a domestic treble of league, FA Cup and League Cup.
In total, the 24-year-old scored 13 goals and created 14 assists in all competitions for Manchester City and for his efforts was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year, voted into the Team of the Season as well as named Manchester City Player of the Season.
On the international scene, he also starred, helping Portugal to win the first-ever UEFA Nations League and was named Player of the tournament as well as voted into the team of the competition.
It is for his performances for Manchester City and Portugal that Bernardo Silva finds himself in fifth place in the race for the 2019 Ballon d'Or.
For some ludicrous reason, FIFA did not deem it fit to name Bernardo Silva among its 10 nominees for the 2019 Best Men's Player, but hopefully, France Football would rectify this anomaly.