Never mind Franck Ribery, who was the star of Bayern Munich’s treble season.
Take a back seat Lionel Messi, and dry your crying eyes CR7. This year’s Ballon d’Or winner should be Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
At least that’s the assertion of former World Player of the Year, Jean-Pierre Papin.
Papin thinks that Ibra could be the dark horse to be the best individual footballer on the planet this year.
For helping PSG to the Ligue 1 title last season and scoring 30 goals in the process, Ibra has surely booked his place on Fifa’s shortlist.
But the big Swede’s recent rampant form has been simply sublime, with beautiful goals aplenty.
Two mind-boggling strikes against Bastia in Ligue 1 were followed by four goals in the Champions League against Anderlecht, and Papin thinks Ibra could be making a strong case for himself.
“Since Wednesday, it’s possible,” the French legend said of Ibra’s chances of winning the L’Ballon to L’Equipe.
“Van Basten won the Ballon d’Or on the back of scoring two hat tricks in one week with AC Milan. One against Gothenburg in the Champions League and then one in Naples in the league.”
“Since Wednesday, he’s put a lot of pressure on the others,” Papin continued, referring to Ribery, Messi and Ronaldo.
“For me, it will not be Messi’s year because he hasn’t played enough matches or won enough titles. The three others are taking part in the playoffs for the World Cup. Those two matches could make the difference.”
And Papin is not the only luminary who would not be shocked if Ibra was voted the best player in the world.
He seems to score more stunning goals than any other striker in the business, and so Italy and Germany legends Dino Zoff and Franz Beckenbauer have both doffed their hats to Ibra.
“His strength is that he scores goals that no one else can score,” Zoff told L’Equipe, while ‘Der Kaiser’ added: “Not only does he [Ibra] score a lot of goals, but as well as that they’re all of incredible beauty.”