The 2017 Ballon d’Or will be handed out on Thursday, and it’s likely going to be 10 years that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the award. Today, we look at 10 candidates, who can end the Ronaldo-Messi era.
Click through the gallery to see which 10 players could be future Ballon d’Or winners.
France Football, who had partnered with FIFA for the FIFA Ballon d’Or between 2010 and 2015, split with the football mother body last year to revert back to their own award, which they have been handing out since 1956.
FIFA already crowned their The Best Men’s Player in 2017, awarding Ronaldo the trophy for his heroics with Real Madrid in 2016/17.
The Portuguese is also the favourite to lift this year's Ballon d’Or, which will be announced on Thursday, 7 December, almost 10 years to the exact date when the last winner other than Ronaldo and Messi lifted the award.
On 2 December 2007, Ricardo Kaka was named the last Ballon d’Or winner before the Ronaldo-Messi era started. But who can end the reign of the two superstars?
The hot favourite to break the Ronaldo-Messi duopoly in 2018 is Neymar. The Brazilian moved to Paris Saint-Germain to step out of the shadow of Messi and impressed with 15 goals and 11 assists in just 17 games since joining the French giants.
Other players listed by ESPN include Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Isco, Kevin De Bruyne and Antoine Griezmann, who are all predicted to take their game to another level in the next year. Kylian Mbappe and Marco Asensio are two young superstars, who have started to write the headlines, while Harry Kane and Eden Hazard will surely also be keen to see their names in the mix.
If any of these 10 can help their club sides to reach far in the UEFA Champions League, potentially even replacing Real Madrid as winners, and lead their national teams to lift the 2018 FIFA World Cup, surely the Ronaldo-Messi Ballon d'Or era would come to an end.
Unless the aging superstars are again instrumental in the Champions League themselves and star at the World Cup next year, then we might go into the 11th year since Kaka lifted the award in 2007.
Click through the gallery to see more names who can end the Ronaldo-Messi reign and let us know your favourite to lift the award in 2018.