CR7, Messi, Van Dijk battle for Ballon d’Or

first_imgRelatedPosts Barca president Bartomeu says he won’t go to war anymore with Messi Messi scores twice in Barca friendly Messi becomes football’s second billionaire + Top 10 The 2019 Ballon d’Or awards take place in Paris on Monday with Barcelona and Argentina superstar Lionel Messi and USA women’s World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe tipped for honours. It’s hard to imagine anyone but Rapinoe walking out of the Chatelet Theatre with the women’s prize after spearheading the USA to a fourth World Cup crown in the summer. The forward won the Golden Ball for best player as well as the Golden Boot for her six tournament goals, including a penalty in the 2-0 win over the Netherlands in the final held in Lyon. There is more competition for the men’s award, with last year’s winner Luka Modric not among the 30 nominees, organised by France Football magazine and voted for by 180 journalists from around the world. The Real Madrid midfielder was rewarded for a fine year in which he helped his club win the Champions League as well as take his national team Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final, ultimately losing to France. That ended a decade in which Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo had won the Ballon d’Or five times each, but the Barcelona man is favourite to beat his arch-nemesis to a sixth crown. While Juventus and Portugal star Ronaldo is certainly in with a shout, others are in the reckoning too. Seven of the Liverpool side that lifted the Champions League in June are nominated, with Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk the Reds’ leading candidate for the award. At one point he looked like the favourite, but Messi already pipped him to Fifa’s The Best title in September. Messi, 32, was the top scorer in La Liga last season with 36 goals as Barcelona won a second successive title. Though Messi failed to shine for his country at the Copa America in Brazil – Argentina finished fourth with Messi sent off in the third-place play-off against Chile – he has still displayed his undoubted genius often enough for his club to merit claims as the best player in the world. “If you give the Ballon d’Or to the best player of this generation then you should give it always to Lionel Messi. That’s how it is,” admitted Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. “But if you give it to the best player of last season, then it was Virgil van Dijk. I don’t know exactly how it will work but that is how I see it.” The value of individual honours in football is debatable, and the timing less than ideal midway through the European club season. Yet surely nobody could suggest Rapinoe would not be a deserving winner of just the second women’s Ballon d’Or, an award voted for by a panel of 48 journalists.Tags: Ballon d’OrCristiano RonaldoLionel Messilast_img

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