Lionel Messi was the football player who crowned the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner on Monday night in Paris. He had an amazing year during which he won La Liga, was crowned The Best FIFA Men’s Player and finished as the Champions League top scorer with 12 goals ahead of holding this golden globe.
Saying at this stage is impossible, as only actions in 2020 will count toward each player’s case for the award. But still, it’s fun to make this project.
Who is primed to be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or in 2020 based on potential achievements and the awards at stake?
6. Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain
Mbappe is already at a point where his star power commands that he enters this conversation at the sixth place- he’s that big of a name. He also boasts the chance to win all of the trophies which are required to lift the Ballon d’Or at the end of this year.
Paris Saint-Germain is already out ahead in Ligue 1, and it’s reasonable to expect success in the domestic cup.
They’re also well-built for the Champions League title they’ve been craving, though Mbappe himself will need to make his impact felt more frequently in big games to turn that dream into a reality. Additionally, he’s France side’s one of the poster boys primed for a run at the Euro 2020 crown.
5. Antoine Greizmann, Barcelona
From what Griezmann’s Barcelona career has played out so far, it may seem like a bit of a leap to suggest he’s a serious fifth-place contender for the 2020 Ballon d’Or. But he’ll be readied for a run if a few not-inconceivable dominos fall his way.
First, the football player will need to upgrade his game at the Camp Nou and fully co-op with Lionel Messi and Co. Considering he’s an elite-tier player, it isn’t a stretch to suggest that he’ll eventually join in and things will click.
Second, he’ll need to play an outstanding role in a Euro 2020 victory for France. Again, that’s hardly implausible seeing as they’re the king of world champions and will likely compete for another title next year.
4. Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool
The football player at the second-place last year, he’ll be the first place this year?
Despite Van Dijk’s past comments that “Messi deserves as long as he plays”, after this near-miss, the fire inside him will be burning brighter than ever and he’ll rightly feel he can make his best in all cases for the award this year.
That’s because he’s found a real sweet spot. The first part of the battle is he’s recognized as a global football star, and the second is he’s playing for the strongest team in Europe.
Liverpool is heavy favorites for the Premier League title, a domestic cup could be easily added to that haul, and are the king of European champions looking to defend their crown.
Van Dijk is also the captain of a strong Netherlands side who has been given a great group and a nice trail through the knockout stages at Euro 2020. This bolsters further his recipe for potential 2020 Ballon d’Or glory.
3. Sadio Mane, Liverpool
Mane’s case for the 2020 Ballon d’Or has the bases of Lewandowski’s – namely, the man is on an amazing goalscoring tear and is carrying his team to results at times – but it’s boosted his team by the fact that is in contention to win it all.
So far this season, he’s been Liverpool’s MVP without a doubt, netting eight times in the Premier League. In terms of points, those goals have often been the difference-makers.
He’s replaced Mohamed Salah in that sense, whose influence in main moments and games has waned over the course of 2019.
Mane has shown his talent to deliver on the stage which is required to hoist himself into 2020 Ballon d’Or contention. He’ll be in the discussion if he keeps it up.
2. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus
If Ronaldo wasn’t already aware, Monday night’s events made it clear that winning the Champions League with Juventus and/or Euro 2020 with Portugal is his only hope of winning the 2020 Ballon d’Or.
A Serie A champion title with the serial Italian champions just won’t cut it.
He’d shoot right into contention if that were to happen because he’d undoubtedly be right at the heart of that achievement. If you’re looking for a man who can make a big moment and the big stage, he’s a suitable one.
1. Lionel Messi, Barcelona
This football player means business in 2019-20 if his early-season form is anything to go by. It’s a truly ridiculous stat line with nine goals and five assists in only eight starts in La Liga.
Messi is still the beating heart of Barcelona’s attack, the one they look to, and the one who always delivers – as he once again proved it on Sunday against Atletico Madrid.
As has been the case for the last two years, Messi is willing to do his best to bring the Champions League trophy back to the Camp Nou, and at the Copa America 2020, he’ll also have another shot at international glory with Argentina.
Unlike most the players, who may need a domestic-international trophy double to win it, Messi might just need one to aim to the 2020 Ballon d’Or.