It’s an unshakable duopoly at the very top of the game. Messi and Ronaldo have had a rivalry that is unparalleled, each pushing the other to an ever higher standard. It’s easy to forget that the Ballon d’Or has a 23 man shortlist, especially when we have had just two players winning the prize for the last seven years. You have to go all the way back to 2007 when a different player (Kaka) won the biggest individual prize in football.
2014 Cristiano Ronaldo
2013 Cristiano Ronaldo
2012 Lionel Messi
2011 Lionel Messi
2010 Lionel Messi
2009 Lionel Messi
2008 Cristiano Ronaldo
I think Ronaldo is the favourite to retain the prize for the third year in a row. His goal scoring heroics have continued, which saw him recently smash Real Madrid’s all time goal scoring record. As of November the 8th he’s scored an incredible 326 goals in 315 games for Madrid. It’s easy to let those numbers pass you by. Don’t. Those stats are just incredible! Despite his form, however, Real Madrid didn’t win a trophy last year. His teams’ failure to bring any silverware to the Bernabeu may go against him.
Messi is Messi, so he’s in with a shout of winning the Ballon d’Or, but his knee injury that side-lined him since September could seriously hinder his chances.
This year could finally be different. The one player who looks to be in with a chance of breaking up the dominance of Ronaldo and Messi is Neymar. Neymar played a leading role in helping Barcelona win the Champions League last season, scoring in the quarters, semis, and the final.
So far this season he’s been sensational. The Brazilians recent goal against Villarreal deserves some sort of prize alone.
At just 23, it’s surely just a matter of time before Neymar wins the Ballon d’Or. He’s Brazil’s captain and has won everything that there is to win on a club level with Barcelona. So the answer to the question in the title is yes, he will win a Ballon d’Or. But whether it will be this year is another matter.