Former Brazilian player Rivaldo gave his thoughts on the potential Ballon d'Or 2022 winners. He named four players who could take home football's most prestigious individual award this year.
The Ballon d'Or in 2021 was awarded to Lionel Messi, who won the trophy for a record-extending seventh time. He beat Robert Lewandowski and Jorginhno, who finished second and third respectively in the rankings.
Rivaldo, while speaking to betting.betfair about his favorites for the coveted prize this year, said:
"After claiming his seventh Ballon D'or award in 2021 Lionel Messi, along with Robert Lewandowski started the season as main favourites to compete for the trophy in 2022, but in World Cup year other players can show up in contention."
He added that the Paris Saint-Germain duo of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar could also have a great chance of winning the prize, given their exploits at both club and international levels. Rivaldo explained:
"I see Mbappe as a very interesting proposition in this competition since he has a good chance in the Champions League with PSG as well as in the World Cup with 6/1 joint-favourites France, but the same can be said about Neymar who plays at the same club and commands the Brazilian national team, the other 6/1 joint-favourite to claim the World Cup title."
Rivaldo finally opined that France Football, the originators of the award, should wait until the end of the World Cup to give out Ballon d'Or this year. He added:
"Anyway, I think France Football should wait for the World Cup conclusion before promoting the vote for the best player of the year since many of that decisions could depend on World Cup performances later in 2022."
What are the chances for Rivaldo's Ballon d'Or favorites in 2022?
Amongst Rivaldo's four favorites, Lewandowski and Mbappe currently seem the most likely to be in contention for the esteemed prize.
The Poland international has already scored a staggering 31 goals in 26 games for Bayern Munich in all competitions this season. Meanwhile, Mbappe has been Paris Saint-Germain's main man this season, scoring 18 goals and assisting 15 in 26 matches across all competitions.
Messi has scored six goals, just one in Ligue 1 in 16 games in all competitions since making his switch to PSG from Barcelona last summer. Meanwhile, Neymar has scored three and assisted three in 14 matches.
The Brazilian is currently nursing an ankle injury. His recurring injury issues have hampered his consistency over the years and could deter his chances for the Ballon d'Or. However, if he could lead Brazil to a World Cup triumph and PSG to a Champions League title, he might be in contention.
Since the year has just begun, it is too early to say who will win the Ballon d'Or in 2022. However, players like Mbappe and Lewandowski have really taken giant strides forward in that regard.