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Ballon d’Or 2018: Who’s leading the race?3 min read

Ronaldo Messi Salah Neymar Griezmann

One of the most anticipated events in world football every year, the Ballon d’Or ceremony. Every year in December the world eagerly waits for the king of football to be crowned. Let’s take a look at few of the candidates who might be crowned next. Will it be another Ronaldo-Messi duopoly? Or will there be a new king?

5. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico/France)

The French superstar had a very productive season with Atletico as he helped the Los Rojiblancos win the Europa League trophy and guided them to the 2nd position in the La Liga. Griezmann registered a total of 29 goals and 13 assists in all competitions for his club this season.

Looking at his personal achievements for the club, Griezmann doesn’t boast as much as the other contenders on this list. But the upcoming World Cup is going to be a major factor which decides who takes the Ballon d’Or this year and with France looking like a major candidate to lift the cup this year. With most of the forwards not being guaranteed a spot in the frontline of France, Griezmann is one of the players who is assured to start for Les Bleus.

4. Neymar Jr. (PSG/Brazil)

With 27 goals and 16 assists in just 28 matches in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain this season, Neymar had another prolific season, this time with a new club. His tally would most certainly have been better if it were not for his unfortunate injury which ended his season early, yet he managed to receive the Ligue 1 Player of the season award as PSG went on to win a domestic treble which included the Ligue 1, Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue.

Brazil is another team which could win the World Cup this year, and if that turns out to be the case, Neymar will surely jump up this list.

3. Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah broke numerous records this season as he scored 44 goals and assisted 14 for Liverpool. The 25-year old also earned numerous accolades such s PFA Player of the year, FWA Footballer of the year, CAF African Footballer of the year and he was named in both PFA and UEFA Team of the season. Even though Salah ended the season without a single trophy, he has been nothing but sensational this season.

Salah also scored the last-minute penalty which took Egypt to the World Cup, where he will look to guide them to a strong campaign.

2. Lionel Messi

Another year where Lionel Messi is a favorite to win the Ballon d’Or. The current holder of the Golden Ball (2014 Brazil) and five-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi had an immensely prolific season finishing ahead of Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo as Europe’s top scorer. The fact that he performs like this every year is the reason that the fans are not going crazy about his 45 goals in 54 games for Barcelona. He finished the season with the domestic double winning the La Liga and the Copa Del Rey.

Messi must guide Argentina one step further than the previous World Cup in order to stake his claim to the Ballon d’Or this year.

1. Cristiano Ronaldo

After a slow start to the season, Ronaldo ended the campaign with an astonishing 44 goals from 44 games, level with Mohammed Salah and just one behind Lionel Messi, who had played more games. The talismanic forward inspired Madrid to their 3rd consecutive Champions League.

Even with the EURO 2016 trophy in their hands, the Portugal team is suffering from a severe lack of quality, compared to other European heavyweights. Hence, if Ronaldo manages a strong campaign in the World Cup for Portugal, he would undoubtedly leave his competitors behind.

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