Top 4 candidates to win The Best FIFA Men's Player Award in 2019
Luka Modric finally ended the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo by winning 2018's 'The Best FIFA Men's Player' award. The Croatian is unlikely to win again next year, as the midfielder's win was heavily influenced by Croatia's World Cup run to the final.
We face the likely prospect of a new winner in 2019, and with the race for next years award already underway, let's look at the player's most likely to win 2019's Best FIFA Men's Player.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo is still the world's greatest player, however, his recent move to Juventus may have eliminated his chances of winning FIFA's best player award for the sixth time. Over the last 17 years, a footballer playing in La Liga has won the award on fifteen occasions. Ronaldo has now joined a team who will comfortably win the league, and since 2001 only KAKA has won the award whilst being based in Italy.
The lack of competition in Italy is likely to hurt the Portuguese star, as even if he scores 40 goals and wins the title, critics will say it was expected of him. Realistically, Ronaldo's only shot at winning another best player award is by leading Juventus to the Champions League title this season.
This will be difficult as the Juventus team is inferior to sides such as PSG, Real Madrid and Barcelona. Ultimately Ronaldo will probably be the best player again this season, however, he will likely miss out on FIFA's award due to Juventus' limitations.
#3 Sergio Ramos
This one may seem like a long shot, but every football fan would have said the same about Luka Modric this time last year. Part of Modric's win came down to his years of excellence, something that his Madrid teammate shares.
Sergio Ramos has been the best defender on the planet for the past five years, and now that Ronaldo has left, it has presented Ramos with the opportunity to be credited for Madrid's success.
If Madrid were to win the Champions League or La Liga this season, it will be in the absence of a forward who scores 40-50 goals. This means that in Cristiano Ronaldo's absence, experts will have to find a new player to pin Madrid's success to.
The most likely candidate would be Madrid's long-serving captain, who has been just as vital as Modric and Ronaldo over the past three years.
Just like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar finds himself on a team that will dominate the domestic season. This means that the 26-year-old will be required to shine on the European stage in order to be in contention for the award.
Neymar seems like the player who will eventually replace Ronaldo and Messi as the best in the world, however, there is a feeling that he won't fulfil his potential until he returns to La Liga (most likely with Real Madrid in summer 2019).
Neymar still has a shot at 2019's best player, but the Brazilian will need to produce stunning individual performances on a weekly basis, in addition to guiding his Paris team to their first Champions League triumph.
#1 Lionel Messi
Messi has won FIFA's best player award in just one of the last six seasons, however, all signs point towards the forward winning the award for the sixth time in 2019. His brilliance in La Liga will no longer be matched due to Cristiano Ronaldo's absence, and Barcelona also look like heavy favourites for the La Liga title.
The Argentine has already started his Champions League campaign with a hat-trick, and unlike Neymar and Ronaldo, Messi's season will not be defined by his ability to win the Champions League. Everything is set in place for Messi to win his sixth and final best player award.
Players such as Neymar and Mbappe will soon surpass the 31-year-old, so it feels like it truly is now or never for the Barcelona legend to win the award one last time.