On this day the 2nd of December last year Barcelona legend Lionel Messi won his record sixth Ballon d’Or award while Liverpool’s Dutch leader Virgil Van Dijk came a close second.
Due to the pandemic, 2020 will be only the second year someone named Ronaldo or Messi has not been awarded the title since 2007. The 2008 award which conveniently was also the 2nd of December, marked Cristiano Ronaldo’s first victory with Messi coming second, and Fernando Torres third.
The Argentinian and Portuguese men would then go onto battle it out for over a decade with Ronaldo currently trailing Messi by one.
The one and only man since that day in 2008 to best both of them in being crowned Ballon d’Or was Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric. His World Cup displays with Croatia helped them make it all the way to the final in the Luzhniki Stadium.
The French defeated them on their way to World Cup glory, just like they did to Davor Suker’s Croatia lead team in 1998, however it was a feat that still needed to be celebrated. Hence Modric , a former refugee, receiving the crown in a heart-warming moment.
Remember The Ballon d’Or is a calendar-year award, so it’s strictly for player’s exploits in 2020. A petition has been set up to reinstate this years award, which you can sign here. The question remains though, if it was reinstated, who would win?
Last year the man lead the line for a Bayern Munich who became the second European club to win the continental treble twice and ended the season undefeated in 30 consecutive matches in all competitions with 29 wins , which included an 8-2 demolition of Barcelona.
This year he he has scored 40 goals in 35 appearances, and has earned the named Lew-GOAL-ski © Thomas Muller. He also chipped in with 15 assists.
The Polish-born player also thinks he should have won the award stating “We won everything there was to be won. I was the top scorer in every competition. I think if a player has achieved that much, he should win the Ballon d’Or.”
At 35, age seems to be no obstacle for Ronaldo, infact he has had such a good year he has been awarded the Golden Foot award. The winner of the award leaves a permanent mould of his footprints on “The Champions Promenade”, on the seafront of the Principality of Monaco. He has done everything to deserve it this year, with 32 games and a staggering 34 goals Cristiano Ronaldo became Juventus’ third player in club history to reach the 30 league goal milestone. He also added a Scudetto to his long list of accolades for his troubles.
At only 19 Haaland joined Dortmund and took the footballing world by storm with a debut hat-trick in 23 minutes. The goals have not stopped, registering 33 in 32 appearances. Unfortunately for him, his side have been unable to secure any silverware which would inevitably go against him. There is no doubt though, if he maintains this standard he will be a future winner.
Virgil Van Dijk
After coming runners-up year before the Liverpool defender had arguably just a good of year in 2020. With Liverpool being crowned Premier League Champions for the first time ever, the Dutch man was the rock at the heart of the defence. The Liverpool team have been littered with genuine contenders such as Sadio Mané and possibly Alisson, who may have been the first ‘keeper since Lev Yashin in 1963 to win the award. If Paulo Maldini never won it with that great AC Milan side, coming third place in the running in 1994, ‘Pool fans can not be too aggrieved.
Despite a tumultuous year by his standards, Lionel Messi still had a great campaign. Registering 23 goals and 25 assists in just 38 games is incredible.
The award however tends to sometimes look at how a player has influenced his club, and Barcelona are sincerely a club in disarray. Crashing out in the Champions League in which over 300 million worth of players sat on the bench, Dembélé and Griezmann and one even ended up scoring against them, Coutinho. Messi’s brilliance could no longer carry the team, however when one things of Maradona’s exploits with Naples, sometimes great players don’t always need great players around them
(Fun fact: Maradona never won the Ballon d’Or, as the award was not extended to include non European players until 1995, and in 1986 it was given to Dynamo Kyiv forward Igor Belanov. George Weah was first non European to win)
Had PSG proved victorious over Bayern Munich in the Champions League final and if the European Championship went ahead, we may of been handing Mbappé the Ballon d’Or.
Realistically the World Champions France were favorites going in the Euro’s, and historically a player with a great international tournament complimented with a brilliant club season wins it. For the age of 21 Kylian Mbappé has it all ahead of him, however reading his present stats for 2020 one comes away thinking the future is now.
Playing 29 games, scoring 21 goals and assisting in 19, Mbappé may need to prove he can do it in a different league before he claims the prize.
A massive outside shot but the current Manchester United creative force has been a revelation in 2020 for the Red Devils. All though not winning anything he helped a truly struggling United side to a few semi finals and third in the league.
United fans would shudder to think what could of been their campaign had this January purchase from Sporting Lisbon not been made. His impact has been likened to Eric Cantona’s arrival from Leeds, something which spurred United on to win their first league title in years. The Portuguese player has been awarded United players of the month a staggering five times out of a possible eight he was eligible for.
With a return of 22 goals and 14 assists in 36 matches, Fernandes may be the man United have been waiting for.
What are you thoughts? Have we missed anyone?