The 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d'Or award, announced by the French football magazine France Football, comprise players from 12 different clubs and 15 different nationalities.
The Premier League is the most well-represented, with four EPL clubs contributing towards half of the 30 nominees (Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal), followed by seven players from three La Liga clubs (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid), three players from two Italian clubs (Juventus and Napoli), two players from the French Ligue 1 (Paris Saint-Germain), one player from the Dutch Eredivisie and one player from the German Bundesliga (Bayern Munich).
In terms of clubs, Liverpool are ahead of everyone with seven nominees, while Manchester City has five and Barcelona four. The quartet of Real Madrid, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, and Paris Saint-Germain have two players nominated, while the quartet of Arsenal, Atletico Madrid, Napoli and Bayern Munich have just one played nominated from their club.
Dutch players have been the flavour of the season and it's no wonder that five of them have made the cut, followed by four from France, three each from Brazil and Portugal and two each from Argentina, England, Portugal, Belgium, and Senegal. Another seven countries are represented once.
In this first part of the 2019 Ballon d'Or nominee player report card, let us analyse the performance of the strikers for the period of January to October 2019. In the said evaluation, two points will be assigned for each goal scored, one point for an assist, and five points for any title won for club or country.
# 13: Son-Heung Min (Tottenham Hotspur, South Korea)
Son-Heung Min has scored 18 goals in 48 games for club and country during the first ten months of 2019. The South Korean international featured in Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League final defeat to Liverpool.
In the ongoing 2019-2020 season, Son has already scored five goals in two competitions for Tottenham. At the international level, he featured in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, scoring a combined two goals in six matches.
# 12: Antoinne Greizmann (Barcelona, France)
After five productive seasons at Atlético Madrid, Antoine Greizmann joined Barcelona for 130€ million at the start of the season. The 28-year old scored in his first home game for the Catalunya club against Real Betis. In total the Frenchman has found the back of the net four times in eight Liga games this season but is yet to score in three UEFA Champions League games.
In the first half of the year, Greizmann didn't score in either leg of Atlético's round of 16 Champions League ouster at the hands of Juventus. In the 20 Liga games which he played in the first half of the year for his former club, he scored eight goals and provided three assists. He added to his tally of domestic goals by scoring a goal apiece in the two round-of-16 legs against Girona.
This year, Greizmann has played eight European qualifier games and a friendly for France, scoring two goals in the qualifiers and one in the friendly. The striker who is known for his prolific goal-scoring abilities, also turned a provider for his national team-mates with nine assists during this period.
Greizmann has scored a total of 18 goals in 45 games for club and country, during the period January to October 2019.
# 11: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal, Gabon)
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has hit the ground running for Arsenal in 2019-20, racking up seven goals in 10 Premier League games and a goal against Eintracht in the Europa League.
Aubameyang, who has scored 24 goals in 38 games for Arsenal during the calendar year, also featured for Arsenal in their 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League Final.
The Gabon striker has scored a total of 24 goals in 40 games for club and country during the period January to October 2019.
# 10: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool, Brazil)
Roberto Firmino is a part of the Liverpool attacking trifecta which was instrumental in landing the club's first Champions League title in 14 years. The 28-year old scored five goals and three assists in the first half of the year as Liverpool fell short by a point against eventual Premier League winners Manchester City.
Apart from being superb for Liverpool this year, Firmino has also featured in Brazil's successful Copa America title run on home soil, scoring two goals and three assists in six games during the tournament.
In all, the Brazilian international has scored 15 goals and provided 15 assists in 49 games for club and country during the period January to October 2019.
9: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
After an indifferent start to the 2018-19 season, Karim Benzema came into his own since the start of the year, scoring 15 goals, and providing four assists in 20 Liga games for Real Madrid. The Frenchman also scored thrice in five Copa Del Rey games as Madrid reached the semifinals. Additionally he scored a goal Madrid's Round of 16 defeat to Ajax.
The start of the 2019-2020 has been much for Benzema than last season, scoring seven Liga goals in nine games, while also providing three assists.
During the first ten months of the year, Benzema has scored 26 goals in 39 games in three competitions for Real Madrid, and has provided nine assists.
# 8: Mohamed Salah (Liverpool, Egypt)
Mohamed Salah scored a league-high 22 Premier League goals in 2018-19 (nine goals since the turn of the year) as Liverpool fell short in their bid to land a first top-flight English title in the Premier League Era. The highlight of the year for Salah was when he got on the scoresheet against Tottenham in the Champions League final helping Liverpool win their sixth Champions League title.
Salah's two goals in four games during the 2019 African Cup couldn't help his country as Egypt got eliminated in the round of 16. When we talk about the ongoing 2019-2020 season, Salah has already managed to score five goals in nine games.
In total, Egyptian striker has scored a total of 21 goals in 44 games for club and country during the first ten months of the calendar year.
7: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus, Portugal)
During this calender year, the Cristiano Ronaldo played 13 Serie A games in 2018-19, scoring seven goals and providing three assists helping Juventus win their eighth Serie A title in a row. He didn't score in the two Coppa Italia games he played, however, he did score four goals in four games across the Round of 16 and quarter-final stage of the Champions League, including a fabulous hat-trick against Atletico.
Ronaldo scored the lone goal in Juventus' 1-0 Super Coppa Italiana win over Juventus at the start of the 2019-20 season. In seven league games in the 2019-20 season, he has already scored four goals and provided one assist for the Bianconeri.
For his national team, Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in the Nations League semis against Switzerland as Portugal won the inaugral Nations League title. When it comes to the Euro 2020 qualifiers, the Portugal captain has netted seven goals, en route to becoming the highest scorer in Euro qualifying history.
In 39 games for club and country during the year, Ronaldo has scored 28 goals (0.71 goals per game), provided four assists, and has won three titles. By his own lofty standards, Ronaldo may have had a lukewarm year so far but in terms of goals scored, impact in games, or titles won, the Portuguese stalwart has had another stellar year. And the year is still some way from coming to an end.
# 6: Sadio Mane (Liverpool, Senegal)
The 18 games that Sadio Mane played since the start of the year in the 2018-2019 season, he managed to score 14 goals. However, what would have pleased him the most is his contribution during the knockout stage of the Champions League following which Liverpool went on to win the tournament for a sixth time.
The Senegalese international scored two goals in the 2019-20 UEFA Super Cup final against Chelsea, as Liverpool won the Super Cup through a penalty shoot-out.
Sadio Mane has scored a total of 30 goals in 47 games for club and country during the period January to October 2019.
# 5: Sergio Agüero (Manchester City, Argentina)
Sergio Agüero scored a 2018-19 Premier League high 22 goals as Manchester City staved off a strong challenge from Liverpool to retain their English top flight title.
After a disappointing Copa America campaign for Argentina which ended without any success, Agüero has started the 2019-20 season with a bang, scoring eight goals in nine Premier League games, two goals in as many games in the Champions League, and another two goals in the EFL Cup.
The Argentina international has scored 33 goals in 44 games in all competitions for club and country, during the period January to October 2019.
#4: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Since the turn of the year, in Ligue 1, Kylian Mbappe scored 20 goals,and provided three assists in 17 Ligue games helping Paris Saint-Germain win yet another French top flight championship. The Frenchman also scored two goals in his lone appearance in the Coupe de France as PSG romped to the title.
In the 2019-20 season, Mbappe has scored two goals and has provided three assists in five Ligue 1 games. However, his most impressive feet came in the Champions League where he became the youngest player to score 15 Champions League goals thanks to his brilliant hat-trick against Club Brugge.
For his national team, Mbappe scored three goals in four qualifying games for Euro 2020 and also provided three assists to teammates.
During the first ten months of the calendar year, the Kylian Mbappe has scored 32 goals in 35 games in all competitions for club and country.
#3: Lionel Messi (Barcelona, Argentina)
Lionel Messi scored 21 goals in 19 Liga games in the 2018-2019 season, as Barcelona romped to the La Liga title. The diminutive Argentinian scored three goals and provided three assists in five Copa Del Rey games helping Barcelona secure a domestic double. In the Champions League, Messi did manage to score six goals in six games but unfortunately couldn't prevent his club from a semifinal exit at the hands of eventual winners Liverpool.
For Argentina, Messi scored a lone goal in six Copa America games as his long international trophy drought continued following Argentina's semifinal exit to eventual winners Brazil.
In the 2019-20 season, Messi has scored two goals and provided two assists in four games. While in the Champions League, the Argentinian became the first player to score in 15 successive seasons in the competition, when he opened the scoring in Barcelona's 2-1 win at Slavia Praha.
During the calendar year, Messi has scored 36 goals in 44 games for club and country, winning the La Liga and Copa Del Rey titles.
# 2: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, Poland)
Robert Lewandowski has had a fabulous year for both club and country. The prolific striker scored 12 Bundesliga goals in 17 games and six DFB Pokal goals in four games enabling Bayern Munich to win both the domestic competitions last season.
Lewandowski's start to the 2019-20 season has been nothing short of sensational, as he became the first player in Bundesliga history to score in each of the first nine games of the season, and has also scored five goals in three Champions League games.
The lanky striker has also scored five goals in eight Euro 2020 qualifiers for Poland, in the process becoming the first player to score three Euro qualifying hat-tricks (two in 2016, one in 2020).
# 1: Raheem Sterling (Manchester City, England)
Raheem Sterling has come of age in 2019. The young Englishman scored eight Premier League goals in 17 games in the first half of the year, as Manchester City held on to win their second successive Premier League title. The England international also scored three goals in four FA Cup games helping the Citizens complete yet another domestic double.
Sterling has scored in each of the four competitions he has featured for his club in 2019-20, scoring a total of 13 goals and providing six assists in 14 games.
The 24-year-old has also found the back of the net for England on eight occasions in six Euro 2020 qualifier games during the year.