It was fun while it lasted but it is sadly coming to an end. The football world will probably never witness a rivalry as the one we saw between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo that spanned over a decade. Both players scored the best goals, dominated all the footballing charts and even made the Ballon d?Or a two-man affair for a decade until Luka Modric ended that duopoly in 2018.
With Ronaldo and Messi now 37 and 34 respectively, time is beginning to catch up the superstars and their performances have naturally dwindled by their own standards. It is time to look forward to a new era and perhaps the next set of players who can dominate the Ballon d?Or awards. In line with odds from the best online bookies, we take a look at the next set of players that could dominate the Ballon d?Or awards.
?For more clarity, we will take more focus on younger players who still have lots of potential ahead of them.
Still only a teenager, Pedro Gonz?lez L?pez, commonly known as Pedri, has already introduced himself as a world-class player. The Barcelona star is showing talent far above his age and has shown he can hold his own among the best of the best. His fine performances for club and country saw him win the Kopa Trophy at the Ballon d?Or ceremony in 2021. The award is given to the best young player in football over a calendar year.
At 19, his best years are way ahead of him and if he keeps up this rate of development, you can?t rule him out of Ballon d?Or contention in the nearest future.
4. Phil Foden
It is a rare feat to find a youngster playing week in and week out under Pep Guardiola, except you are special. That is the case of Phil Foden who has grown from stride to stride over the past two seasons.?
What makes the Englishman even special is the fact that he can play across several roles on the pitch. His versatility is up there as one of the best as he has been deployed as an attacking midfielder, on either wing, and even in central midfield. On rare occasions, he has also been trusted by Pep Guardiola to take the false nine role.
Having impressed with England as well, he is already drawing comparisons to Paul Gascoigne and already has 10 winners? medals to his name. Being in a team like Manchester City, he has a strong chance at competing for the Ballon d?Or, given that he is always likely to win titles.
3. Vinicius Junior
Many raised eyebrows when Real Madrid coughed out ?38m to sign a 16-year-old Vinicius from Flamengo back in 2017. Fast forward to the present and that amount is looking like a bargain. Vinicius always showed skill and promise from the onset but a lack of end product ruined his overall game.
The Brazilian has now done justice to his finishing and was a key figure this term as Real Madrid defended their La Liga crown. His tally of 18 goals and 19 assists in the current campaign is his best personal season and he is playing with much confidence at the moment.
His partnership with Benzema has strongly benefitted the Frenchman, who is now believed to be the frontrunner for the Ballon d?Or award this year. Vinicius recently scored a brilliant solo goal against Manchester City in the Champions League to keep his side in the game ahead of the return leg.
If he continues to improve at this rate, he could join the list of many Brazilians to have won the Ballon d?Or.
2. Erling Haaland
From breaking onto the scene at RB Salzburg, a move to Borussia Dortmund proved to be splendid business for player and club. In his two seasons at the club, the Norwegian forward has been the definition of prolific and his record pretty much sums it up. In 85 games for Borussia Dortmund as at the time of writing, he has bagged a whopping 85 goals, while bagging 23 assists alongside.
Some say he is currently the best finisher in world football and only a few might argue against that. He could be in line for a blockbuster move to the Premier League, with Manchester City leading the queue for his signature. If he joins a team where he could end up scoring even more goals than the current numbers, only one person can literally stop him from dominating the Ballon d?Or.?
A certain Frenchman makes up for that candidate as the last person on our list.
1. Kylian Mbappe
If there is one player to take over from Ronaldo and Messi, it has to be Mbappe. The Frenchman has attributes similar to both players and has a proper balance of technicality, skill, pace and all the qualities you can think of for a world-class player. (buy xanax uk)
Still only 23, he already has several Ligue 1 titles to his name, many golden boots and even the prestigious World Cup. Only the Champions League is missing from his list and he could have ?completed? football before 25.
Of all the players on this list, he is the only one to have finished in the top ten for the Ballon d?Or in all three of the last three awards and that already shows his talent. Injuries aside, he is the natural heir to the Ballon d?Or throne after Ronaldo and Messi.