The 2018/19 season officially drew to a close with the Champions League Final with Liverpool crowned European champions thanks to a thrilling 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid. This European success is usually pivotal in determining who wins the Ballon’d’Or given that the last six recipients of the gong have been involved with Champions League glory, however will this prove to be the case in 2019? We take a look at the leading contenders…
3: Sadio Mane, Liverpool
Throughout 2017/18 Sadio Mane lived very much under the shadow of Mohamed Salah and he failed to get the credit which he genuinely deserved, however he has shown more in the way of consistency this season and has taken centre stage at Anfield with 22 goals scored throughout the campaign. The Senegalese international received the Premier League Golden Shoe alongside Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and team-mate Mo Salah and he was central to Liverpool’s Champions League success with four goals scored in that competition.
2: Lionel Messi
Messi has won the Ballon d’Or on five previous occasions and he is a serious contender this time around having helped steer Barcelona to the La Liga crown once again. Messi banged in 36 league goals in 2018/19 and received the European Golden Shoe for the third successive time. Indeed despite Barca being dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool at the semi-final stage, the Argentinian international finished top-scorer in the tournament with 12 goals coming in 10 matches.
1: Virgil van Dijk
Van Dijk has been tremendous for the Reds since he arrived from Southampton at the start of 2018, the defender transforming Liverpool’s rearguard into one of Europe’s strongest. He was involved in all of Liverpool’s Premier League outings in 2018/19 having helped the Reds finish the season with the best defensive record and he was a deserved winner of the PFA Player of the Season accolade. He was pivotal in Liverpool’s Champions League success with an average of 1 tackle, 0.8 interceptions, 4.8 clearances and 3.4 aerial duels in each match and many pundits predict that he will give Messi a run for his money in the battle for the Ballon d’Or.
Ballon d’Or Winner 2019 – Paddy Power Odds
5/6 – Lionel Messi
Evens – Virgil van Dijk
20/1 – Sadio Mane
20/1 – Mohamed Salah
25/1 – Cristiano Ronaldo
25/1 – Raheem Sterling
33/1 – Eden Hazard
40/1 – Kylian Mbappe
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