Ballon d'Or 2018: Why Messi and Salah should have finished higher than Griezmann and Mbappe
The 63rd Ballon d'Or ceremony was hosted in Paris on 3rd December 2018 with Luka Modric winning the award for the footballer of the year for 2018 after his breathtaking performances in the FIFA World Cup 2018. Cristiano Ronaldo came second, while the French duo Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe ended up being 3rd and 4th, respectively.
But truth be told, the Ballon d'Or this year has been highly biased with the World Cup performances completely overlooking the mammoth numbers Lionel Messi and Mohammed Salah produced all season, with none among them making the top four of the award.
Now let's keep the World Cup aside for a moment, and look how Mohammed Salah and Lionel Messi fared up against Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe throughout the season in their respective leagues.
Goals and assists stats in their respective league
- Lionel Messi: 37 games, 34 goals, 12 assists (46 G+A) [League winners]
- Mohammed Salah: 36 games, 32 goals, 11 assists (43 G+A) [Record Premier League goalscorer for a single season]
- Antoine Griezmann: 32 games, 19 goals, 9 assists (28 G+A)
- Kylian Mbappe: 28 games, 13 goals, 7 assists (20 G+A) [League winners]
The stats clearly conclude that both Lionel Messi and Mohammed Salah were phenomenal in their respective leagues, both being the top scorer of the same. While Griezmann (6th in his league) and Mbappe (13th) were nowhere near to the performances that Messi and Salah produced throughout their league campaigns.
Now let's move on from the domestic leagues and take a look at their Champions League performances and how Messi and Salah fared compared to the other two.
Goals and assists stats in the Champions League
- Mohammed Salah: 13 games, 10 goals, 5 assists (15 G+A) [Champions League finalist]
- Lionel Messi: 10 games, 6 goals, 2 assists (8 G+A)
- Kylian Mbappe: 8 games, 4 goals, 3 assists (7 G+A)
- Antoine Griezmann: 6 games, 2 goals, 2 assists (4 G+A)
The picture is getting clearer proving Mohammed Salah and Lionel Messi's consistency throughout the season compared to the French duo. You can make a case for Antoine Griezmann here because he stood out in Atletico Madrid's Europa League victory but let's be honest, there is a huge difference in quality between the Champions League and the Europa League, where Mohammed Salah was scoring for fun.
While, Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann are getting the deserved plaudits for winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but in all honesty, Mohammed Salah and Lionel Messi have been overlooked because the Ballon d'Or ranking was more inclined towards the performances in the World Cup rather than being consistent throughout the season.