As Europe’s domestic seasons finally draw to a close, trophies and awards are held aloft by triumphant winners from Italy to the UK. But one big prize will be missing this year.
The 2020 Ballon D’Or was cancelled due to the ‘lack of sufficient fair conditions’ according to France Football and it was a shock considering everyone was waiting for the latest Ballon D’Or 2020 updates.
Now with hindsight you might say that was a hasty decision, particularly as the big four leagues have moved heaven and earth to finish their campaigns safely and with great integrity.
The Golden Ball trophy has been given to the best player in the world since 1956.
In recent seasons, it has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and those two giants of modern day football were certainly in the frame again, but we will never know.
So let’s try and work it out for ourselves. Had the prestigious award not been pulled, who would have won the Ballon D’Or?
I believe it would have been contested by five great players from five different leagues. Let’s see if you agree.
Lionel Messi – Barcelona
Of course the Argentine master is on the list again and this would have been his seventh Ballon D’Or had he won it.
And all the signs are that he probably would because his all-around game stands out from the crowd.
This season, Messi became the first player in La Liga history to score over 20 goals and make over 20 assists in a season. He finished as the league’s top scorer with 25 and teed up 21 goals for his team-mates, but Barcelona finished second in the title chase.
Messi didn’t hide his disappointment with the Blaugrana’s failure to push Real Madrid harder in the race, especially since the pre-season La Liga odds expected a Barca triumph, but there wasn’t much more their captain could have done.
Kevin de Bruyne – Manchester City
At the beginning of the season, the SBOBET odds backed a third successive league title for Manchester City, but they were spectacularly beaten by Liverpool.
However, the Sky Blues’ midfield ace looks likely to pick up the PFA Player of the Year Award after another phenomenal season.
De Bruyne’s huge tally of 20 assists was seven clear of Liverpool’s wing-back duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold and twice as many as the impressive ten that Manchester City’s mercurial David Silva achieved in his farewell season at the Etihad.
With City’s eyes on the 2020 Champions League, there’s still more to come from the Belgian star this summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
Juve’s main man has five Ballon D’Ors, just one fewer than Messi, and he has made his case this term by being the first player to score 30 goals in a single season in three of Europe’s top four leagues.
He has 31 strikes to his name but he trails Lazio’s Ciro Immobile in the race for the Capocannoniere as the Italian notched 34 goals, although he has collected his second Serie A title with I Bianconeri.
There are still two rounds of Serie A results to come but the Old Lady is already seven points clear.
Ronaldo would love to climb alongside Messi and collect his sixth Ballon D’Or, but I don’t think he can stand up to the Argentine’s combined goals and assists tally.
Robert Lewandowski – FC Bayern
There are plenty of pundits around backing Lewandowski for a Ballon D’Or and he has a good case.
The Polish hit man made it 34 goals for the season in Bayern’s final game, a 4-0 win over Wolfsburg, as Die Bayern strolled to yet another Bundesliga title as well as picking up the DFB Pokal cup.
The 31-year-old has never won a Ballon D’Or, constantly in the shadow of Messi and Ronaldo, and this would probably have been his best chance. Nut he will have to satisfy himself with another record domestic season and a chance to add the Champions League to his trophy haul.
Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain
PSG’s star man Kylian Mbappe would have been in the running too, as per the Ballon D’Or 2020 odds, but while La Liga, the Premier League, Serie A and the Bundesliga all completed their seasons, Ligue 1 was curtailed abruptly in April and the title was awarded to the Paris club who held a 12-point lead and had a game in hand.
At that time, Mbappe was the league’s top scorer with 18 goals, and the 21-year old was the best player in the country by a margin.
Like his rivals, the young Frenchman is still in the Champions League and will hope he can fire PSG to a first triumph in Europe’s flagship competition.
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