Ballon d' Or 2019 Contenders
The 2019 Ballon d’Or winner is expected to be announced today. Nigeria Info’s Olamide Fadoju takes a look at five contenders who could most likely get the ultimate prize awarded by France Football.
Argentinean star, Messi had an exceptional individual season with Barcelona. Despite their humiliating Champions League semi-final exit to Liverpool, he won the European Golden Shoe for the sixth time in his career, scoring 36 goals as Barcelona again won the La Liga title.
In all competitions, the 31-year-old scored 51 goals in 49 matches, and also contributed 19 assists.
Unfortunately for Messi, he had another disappointing summer with Argentina at the Copa America as he once again fell short of winning a major trophy for his country but has made a blistering start to the 2019\2020 season with 11 goals and eight assists in 14 games.
He was voted the FIFA Best Men player in September.
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutchman has enjoyed a major boost in career since joining Liverpool three years ago for a then world-record fee for a defender (£75 million).
Van Dijk, however, took his football to another level in the 2018/2019 season as his defensive heroics helped Liverpool keep 20 cleans sheets in 38 matches as they finished second place in the league.
He was also instrumental at the back during their victorious Champions League run.
For Holland, Van Dijk has been key for the resurgent Dutch side as they finished runner up in the inaugural UEFA Nations League.
For his outstanding performance last season, he was voted the best player in the Premier League and was awarded UEFA Men’s Player of the Year. He also finished 2nd in the FIFA Men Player of the Year awards and earned a place in the both PFA team of the season and FIFA team of the year(FIFPro XI)
In his first season in Italy, the Portuguese scored 21 goals to help Juventus win the Scudetto title for the eighth consecutive season. He was also instrumental in their run to the Champions League quarter-finals, scoring six goals.
In all competitions for Juventus, Ronaldo scored 28 goals and provided 10 assists and was voted the best player in Serie A
In the summer, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 3 goals as Portugal won the UEFA Nations League. He finished third on the 2019 FIFA best player list.
The Senegalese international had a stellar year for Liverpool. In the 2018/2019 Premier League season, he scored more non-penalty goals than any other player and was the joint highest goal scorer for his efforts. His performance also earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
Although Liverpool fell short to Manchester city and failed to win the league, he was instrumental as they won the Champions League defeating Tottenham.
Mane was also part of the Senegalese team that reached the final of African Cup of Nations losing narrowly to Algeria. He scored three goals and was named in the Team of the Tournament.
The Senegalese has started the current season in the same manner. His 8 goals have helped Liverpool open a wide gap at the top of the table. In 20 appearances this season in all competitions, the forward has scored a total of 12 goals
He finished 5th on the 2019 FIFA’s Men's Best Player list.
Despite having a less impressive year judging by the high standards he set in the 2017/2018 season, current African player of the year, Mohamed Salah still scored 27 goals in 52 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions as Liverpool finished runners up in the premier league and won the champions league for the sixth time.
Salah finished joint top scorer in the premier league for 2018/2019 season with 22 goals and scored the opening goal in the defeat of Tottenham in the Champions League final in May.
On national duty, he scored twice in Egypt's disappointing African Cup of Nations outing that saw the Pharaohs dumped out of the tournament in the second round on home soil.
Salah has scored 6 premier league goals this season as Liverpool strengthen their bid to win their first league title in 29 years.
Honourable Mentions: Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Hazard (Real Madrid), Riyad Mahrez ( Man City), Bernado Silva ( Man City), Raheem Sterling (Man City)