World Cup 2018: 3 Potential Ballon d'Or winners in Russia
These are clear contenders unless a footballing catastrophe happens.
The 2018 FIFA World in Russia is upon us, and brings together some of the best footballers in the world.
This competition also happens to be the most prestigious in all of sports due to the billions of people who follow the action through stadium attendance or watching the matches from the comfort of their homes.
The World Cup is also a hot zone for scouts to discover potential new acquisitions, and a place for little known players to make a name for themselves.
The Ballon d'Or is the single most iconic individual award that any footballer would dream of winning. It is a representation of other footballers and coaches paying homage to one's performance in that calendar year or season.
Since Brazilian Kaka's win in 2007, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only players to have scooped the award. This is not surprising given that the duo have set the bar so high that duplicating their feats will be a herculean task. Below are three contenders who are in Russia and heavily tipped to win the 2018 Ballon d'Or.
#1 Mohamed Salah (Egypt)
The Egyptian playmaker is currently recovering after suffering a nasty shoulder injury suffered in May during the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid. Liverpool were left vulnerable after his early substitution in that match.
Despite losing the final, Salah showed that he is ready to break the Ronaldo and Messi jinx. He scored 44 goals in 52 appearances for Liverpool last season.
This figure is more than he managed in three seasons in Italy. His 32 league goals also was a record breaker. Salah became the highest ever scorer in a 38-game Premier League season.
He has also proven to be a big match player this past season. He converted a late penalty under intense pressure as Egypt beat DRC Congo 1-0 to qualify for the World Cup.
Regardless of Egypt's campaign at the World Cup, Salah has done enough to be only the second African to win this award after George Weah in 1995.