Leo Messi Names Three Contenders For Ballon d’Or 2018

The Ballon d’Or has been a complete duopoly in recent years in recent years with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo winning five each in the last decade. You will have to in fact go back to 2007 to find a winner of the trophy that was not either of the two – when Kaka was presented with the year-end award.

However, moving into 2018, Messi, feels that this year might be a tighter affair. The Argentine named three stars – Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez as the ones to watch out for when it comes to challenging him and Ronaldo for the trophy.

“There are many great players around today who can win the Ballon d'Or,” Messi told WorldSoccer Magazine.

“In recent years there have just been two, but now players like Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Luis Suarez can compete.”

The duopoly has been so strong that no one has been able to come between Messi and Ronaldo for the award since 2010. That was the year when the Argentine’s fellow Barca stars – Andres Iniesta and Xavi had finished second and third respectively thanks to their World Cup winning heroics.

Neymar has come the closest to end the dominance that Messi and Ronaldo has shown. The Brazilian in fact ended the 2015 and 2017 races in third place. And this might just be his year after he moved away from the shadows of Messi and Ronaldo following his 222 million euros ($263m) move to PSG. Neymar has already scored 28 goals in 27 appearances for the Parisians. His, true test will, however, be in the Champions League and the upcoming World Cup.

Mbappe, the winner of the Golden Boy award last year, meanwhile has teamed up with Neymar at PSG after winning the Ligue 1 title with Monaco last season. The French teenager has taken to his surrounding like a duck to water and has already pumped in 15 times in 31 games.

Suarez, like Mbappe, has never finished in the top 3 for the Ballon d’Or and this will again be a tough season for him to get in amongst the elites despite his 19 goals from 33 games for Barca.



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