How Euro 2016 could affect the Ballon d'Or voting
The Ballon d’Or voting in the past eight years has been all about the two greatest players of the last decade: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Judging by their fitness, form and showings this calendar year, both of them seem primed to be making another run straight into the Ballon d’Or top 3 once more.
However, at this point in the season, with the news of Messi’s international retirement filtering through and Portugal’s less-than-formidable form in Euro 2016, the newer generation and lesser-known players have, for the first time in years, a clear shot at making the podium at least. We list 4 such players and their cases, provided that events pan out in their favour.
1. Luis Suarez
El Pistolero is probably the big loser of momentum in this frantic summer of international football. An injury to the muscles of his fatigued right leg, which helped him scoop up his first uncontested Golden Boot of his career, ruled him out of contention of appearing for Uruguay in the Copa America Centenario.
He could only watch on in agonised helplessness as his teammates floundered to an ignominious exit in the group stages after losses to Venezuela and Mexico. Such was his situation, in fact, that Oscar Tabarez did not risk bringing him on in their final group game against Mexico when they were losing by 2 goals and needed a couple of magic moments.
The fact that he did not have the chance to achieve anything substantial with his national team is no knock on the rest of his calendar year, in which he has been quite the revelation. Indeed, he has taken the league by storm in a manner reminiscent of the original Ronaldo of Brazil, toppling goalscoring records left and right on the way to scoring 53 goals in 46 appearances for the Blaugrana in the season past.
Fans are now looking to Suarez as the key to Barcelona’s success in attack, rather than Messi, who seems content with maneuvering the ball from deeper central areas and passing on the primary scoring baton to his able shoulders.
Germany or Italy win the Euros, while Portugal and Wales are both knocked out by the semifinal stages. Suarez scores aplenty for Barca early next season.
Either of Portugal/Wales reaches the final of the Euros. Bale/and Ronaldo continue in imperious form the following season.