Top 6 contenders for Ballon d'Or 2018
For the past decade, the Ballon d’Or has been shared between just two men. It was in 2007, when the Brazilian Kaka was adjudged the winner of this prestigious award, but ever since then world football has been dominated by two of the biggest names of our generation.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have been in this battle for the past 10 years in an attempt to claim the title of the greatest player ever. They have won accolades in almost all competitions accompanied by individual honors, but they haven't yet tasted success on the grandest stage of all, the FIFA World Cup.
It’s no easy task to outshine Messi and Ronaldo in the same season or even be at par with them. But it may be time for a new era where a different player finally upstages them to the biggest individual honor in football.
So let’s look at a few names that are in the race to win the Ballon d’Or this year:
World Cup heartbreak: The Messi – Ronaldo saga
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have shared this trophy a record five times and this year could be another one when history is made - or rather, extended - if either of them wins the Ballon d’Or for a record sixth time.
Prior to the recently concluded FIFA World Cup, most people thought that being crowned World Champion would seal this year’s debate for the winner and a record sixth Ballon d’Or trophy. The one trophy that still eludes Messi and Ronaldo is the World Cup, and this year again they did not come close as Argentina and Portugal both crashed out in the round of 16.
Messi dominated Spanish football last year by winning the La Liga and the Copa del Rey with Barcelona, and finished the season with the Pichichi scoring 34 goals in the process - eight goals ahead of rival Ronaldo. Messi scored one goal at the World Cup against Nigeria which helped Argentina qualify for the Round of 16.
Ronaldo on the other hand won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid for a record three times in a row and finished as the top scorer with 15 goals in the tournament. He also scored four goals at the World Cup which included a hat-trick against Spain.