The race for one of the world’s most prestigious individual football awards is taking a different shape. With Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi suffering a humiliating Champions League exit in the round of 16, the award is now open to other candidates.
For the first time in 16 years, Messi and Ronaldo are both out before the quarte-finals. Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus currently are under the shadows of Inter Milan and AC Milan in Serie A, although they booked a place for the Copa Italia final.
It might not be a surprise for both Mesi and Ronaldo to have already won their last Ballon by now. With the change of era that began last year when no award was assigned, this year’s award is seemingly going to be definitive in world football history.
Kylian Mbappe seems the favorite player to take home this highly contested award. He is currently the world’s most coveted player. His record hattrick against Barcelona at Nou Camp shows the kind of quality player he is.
Robert Lewandowski might be on the race to battle it out. The Poland star won Champions League last season, Bundesliga title, and DFB Pokal. Robert has more silverware to come.
Neymar is another player who for a couple of years, has been seen as the next winner once Messi and Ronaldo are out. However, his career has been hit with injuries putting his place for the award in jeopardy.
Erling Haaland is a rising star in the modern generation. He is already breaking records at only 20 years of age. Haaland and Mbappe are viewed as the next generation of Messi and Christiano.
Other likely possible contenders may include Luis Suarez, Kevin de Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, and Harry Kane.