Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon explains how Dani Carvajal can win 2024 Ballon d’Or ahead of Jude Bellingham and Vinicius Jr

Carvajal won the La Liga and Champions League double last season...
Carvajal won the La Liga and Champions League double last season...

Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon claimed that they must win the Euros for Daniel Carvajal to become the Ballon d'Or winner. Currently, Vinicius Junior and Jude Bellingham are seen ahead of him in the race for the prized possession.

Carvajal enjoyed a terrific club season with Real Madrid, winning the La Liga and Champions League, preceded by the Spanish Supercup title in January. He even scored in the European final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, as Los Blancos prevailed 2-0 to lift their 15th title in the competition.

On Saturday, the right-back was also on target for La Roja against Croatia, netting their third goal as Luis de la Fuente's side ran out 3-0 victors in their opening game of the UEFA Euro 2024.

While his club teammate Vinicius Junior is widely seen as the favorite for this year's Ballon d'Or, Carvajal is touted to be in contention for the prize too. However, Simon feels that only winning the Euros with Spain is going to solidify his chances.

Speaking to the press, the goalkeeper said:

"Carvajal is the best right back in the world, but to win the Ballon d'Or we would have to win the Euros."

Major international tournaments play a big role in the Ballon d'Or rankings, with the players that shine normally finishing high, or even getting their hands on the prize. Most recently, Lionel Messi won his record-extending eighth Golden Ball after guiding Argentina to a second FIFA World Cup title in 2022.

His arch-rival Cristiano Ronaldo also won the Ballon d'Or in 2016 after he won the Euros with Portugal, although he also had the Champions League title under his belt that year.

With the La Liga and Champions League trophies in the bag, it will be interesting to see if Carvajal can add the Euro Cup too.

Fabio Cannavaro is the last defender to win the Ballon d'Or

Defenders rarely win the Ballon d'Or, a prize that has been dominated by forwards throughout its rich history. On a few occasions, defenders have got their hands on it too, with Fabio Cannavaro being the last one in 2006.

That was the year he guided Italy to their fourth World Cup title, and played a key role in helping Juventus to the Serie A title too, although it was later stripped off in the infamous Calciopoli scandal.

The bottom line is that defenders aren't the most eye-catching players on the field, and have to work more to win prizes like the Ballon d'Or. Carvajal was a vital cog in Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid juggernaut last season, but it's hard to see him win the trophy, at least for now.

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Edited by Ankush Das
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