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It’s that time of the year again. The football world stands still and awaits impatiently on one day in the entire year to know which player gets the most prestigious individual in the history of the game. Recently, the award has been revolving around two great players, arguably the greatest individual sporting rivalry in the history of mankind. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. As expected, they’re again the nominees’ list for the Ballon d’Or 2018, along with a dark horse, as there is every year. However, this year the dark certainly horse seems more than just capable to steal it from the great duo.
Luka Modric, the 33-year old master magician from Croatia, has been showing the world that physique and political tensions don’t matter when you have talent and work hard. In fact, his win seems even more assured since he has won FIFA The Best 2018, FIFA’s award for the best individual player of the year. Drama is assured this time around, as more than two players have chances of being in the top three, other than Ronaldo and Modric. Let’s have a detailed look at the award winner and everything else about Ballon d’Or 2018.
Ballon d’Or Nominees
Firstly, let’s get you known about all the nominees fighting to be the Ballon d’Or 2018 winner. Gone are the days when the Ballon d’Or was tied up with FIFA and used to shortlist only three players. Lately, France Football comes out with a whopping 30 shortlisted players. Here is the list of the thirty for the 2018 awards.
1. Raphael Varane (France, Real Madrid)
2. Luis Suarez (Uruguay, Barcelona)
3. Mohamed Salah (Egypt, Liverpool)
4. Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid)
5. Ivan Rakitic (Croatia, Barcelona)
6. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid/Juventus)
7. Paul Pogba (France, Manchester United)
8. Jan Oblak (Slovenia, Atletico Madrid)
9. Neymar (Brazil, Paris Saint-Germain)
10. Luka Modric (Croatia, Real Madrid)
11. Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona)
12. Kylian Mbappe (France, Paris Saint-Germain)
13. Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid)
14. Sadio Mane (Senegal, Liverpool)
15. Mario Mandzukic (Croatia, Juventus)
16. Hugo Lloris (France, Tottenham Hotspur)
17. N’Golo Kante (France, Chelsea)
18. Harry Kane (England, Tottenham Hotspur)
19. Isco (Spain, Real Madrid)
20. Eden Hazard (Belgium, Chelsea)
21. Antione Griezmann (France, Atletico Madrid)
22. Diego Godin (Uruguay, Atletico Madrid)
23. Roberto Firmino (Brazil, Liverpool)
24. Thibaut Courtois (Belgium, Chelsea/Real Madrid)
25. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay, Paris Saint-Germain)
26. Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium, Manchester City)
27. Karim Benzema (France, Real Madrid)
28. Gareth Bale (Wales, Real Madrid)
29. Sergio Aguero (Argentina, Manchester City)
30. Alisson Becker (Brazil, Roma/Liverpool)
Ballon d’Or 2018 Date & Expected Winner
Normally, it is very easy to select the three. On this occasion, it seems a bit tricky. Ronaldo and Modric are bound to be the top 2, but the main problem arises as to who will stand a chance between these two. Messi seems to be the likely choice, but due to his absence in the top 3 of FIFA The Best this year, it seems difficult for him to stand a chance. Even though Messi had one hel l of a season, as usual, he couldn’t win the big two this year - UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup. If only the Ballon d’Or was 100% based on individual excellence, Messi would’ve competed fiercely with Ronaldo and Modric.
So that leaves us with either Mohamed Salah or Kylian Mbappe as the third contender. Salah, despite having a disastrous second half of the year like Modric, will be a strong contender as the Ballon d’Or is loosely decided on the individual and team performance of the concluded season. The ongoing season hardly has a say, it seems. Mbappe is another strong contender due to his excellent performance in the World Cup. Modric’s nomination is also majorly based on his and Croatia’s jaw-dropping World Cup performance.
However, due to Salah having a better club season, making his club reach the Champions League final after 11 years, has an edge over Mbappe. Even though the World Cup has a bigger role to play in the Ballon d’Or decision making, Mbappe might not be in the top three as his club season was not at all extraordinary. So with that, we conclude the top three debate. Cristiano Ronaldo - who won the Champions League with Real Madrid, had an excellent individual performance in the World Cup and has been continuing his excellent form in Italy with Juventus. Luka Modric - who won the Champions League with Real Madrid and took his team to the World Cup final. Mohamed Salah - who had his best season ever and took his team to the Champions League final.
So, 3rd December is the day the award ceremony will be conducted, in the French capital. We predict Cristiano Ronaldo to win his 6th Ballon d’Or. Let’s see if we are correct. Go, Ronnie!
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