Last year, Luka Modric ended Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s 10-year Ballon d’Or reign, but which players are in the running to lift this year’s Golden Ball?
Click through the gallery to see 10 stars who could compete for the 2019 Ballon d’Or.
The awards season is around the corner and will kick off with the UEFA Player of the Year award, which will be handed out in late August.
A month later, FIFA will host their annual awards gala, this time around it will take place in Milan on 23 September, to crown their FIFA Best Men’s Player before L’Equipe’s famous Ballon d’Or will be announced in December.
While Modric claimed all three awards last year, there seems to be a tightly-contested race this time around.
Messi and Ronaldo are in the running again after the former won the European Golden Shoe and two trophies with FC Barcelona, while his long-standing rival claimed two titles in his debut season with Juventus before leading Portugal to the inaugural UEFA Nations League trophy.
However, other players have also emerged as potential candidates for this year’s crown after Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League and Manchester City the domestic treble.
Even though only one goalkeeper has won the prestigious Golden Ball so far, Alisson Becker seems to have a realistic chance in 2019. The shot-stopper lifted the Champions League with Liverpool and helped his new side to finish runners-up in the Premier League, while claiming the Golden Glove. In addition, he also won the Copa America with Brazil, conceding just one goal in the tournament.
Manchester City duo Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez appear as outside contenders after playing a role in their club side’s domestic success that saw them win the league title and both domestic cups before winning international trophies with the countries. Silva was named Player of the Tournament as Portugal claimed the Nations League title, while Mahrez captained Algeria to their recent success at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
Virgil Van Dijk also appears among the favourites to win this year’s personal accolades, while Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Kylian Mbappe and Raheeem Sterling have also been mentioned as potential contenders.
Who do you think deserves this year’s Ballon d’Or? Have your say in the comments section below.