It’s that time of the year again, the crowning of the best football player on the planet. Who will succeed Luka Modric as the best player of 2019? We can’t tell you that yet but we can give you the lowdown of this year’s nominees.
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutch defender has been a rock for Liverpool, ever since signing for Liverpool back in January 2018. Van Dijk was key in pushing Manchester City all the way in the Premier League but was an ever-present in their Champions League victory. If anyone is going to deny Messi or Ronaldo, it’s Van Dijk.
Neil Moxley told Park Life Sport: “He’s already carried off the European crown and Liverpool won the Champions League, that puts it into focus, successful players in successful teams.
“He’s an absolute Roles Royce of a defender and I think he’s got a great chance of winning it.”
Mr Consistent for Manchester City, Bernardo Silva scored 13 goals and got 14 assists during his side’s treble winning campaign. Although controversy has hampered the opening half of this season, the Portuguese international scored a hat trick against Watford. To top it off, he scored the winning goal in the Nations League final.
Probably the player of the season so far in Europe. More goals than games, with 18 in the Bundesliga and 10 in the Champions League. The Polish striker has been a glimmer of hope for the German champions in what has been a mixed start to the season. His goals also helping Poland to Euro 2020 qualification.
A quiet season by Ronaldo’s meteoric standards, 28 goals in 43 games in his first season at Juventus helped his side win Serie A and the Italian Super Cup. A hat-trick in the semi-finals of the Nations League, set Portugal on their way, and he captained his country to Nations League glory with victory over the Netherlands in the final.
The rise of Kylian Mbappe continues at an astonishing rate. More goals than games in Ligue 1 and a whopping 39 in 43 makes his development at such a young age even more impressive. PSG’s failure in the Champions League may hinder his chances, but it appears it is a matter of when not if, the former Monaco striker wins the award.
For so long, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino got the plaudits for Liverpool, but in 2019 Sadio Mane has stepped up to become their leading figure. Joint top-scorer in the Premier League last season, Mane has been the man for the big occasion in the last 12 months when his strike partners have faltered, winning the penalty in the Champions League final and the goal against Bayern Munich in the last 16 prime examples. Despite Senegal suffering AFCON heart break, Mane’s role cannot go unnoticed as he scored three goals.
Is Lionel Messi the GOAT? That’s a debate for another day, but Messi will go down as one of, if not the best player of all time and his record of 51 goals in 50 games goes along way to proving that this season. However, Barcelona’s abysmal Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield, will work against him on top of Argentina’s COPA America semi final elimination. However, his ability to pull any side out of a whole may see him take home the top prize.
2019 didn’t quite live up to the heights of 2018 for Mohammed Salah but scoring 31 goals was always going to be hard to match but 22 league goals was a very respectable return. Along with Mane and Roberto Firmino, Salah was vital in Liverpool’s form, both this season and last as he finished joint top scorer in the Premier League and won the Champions League. However, A disappointing AFCON won’t reflect favourably on the Egyptian.
It seems like a long time since Raheem Sterling was being lambasted by the media for his performances on and off the pitch. He was named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and won the PFA Young Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year. His work off the football pitch hasn’t gone unnoticed and he’s seen as a great role model for football fans around the world.
Considered by many as the best the Premier League had to offer in 2018/19, the Belgian has been somewhat underwhelming since his move to Real Madrid, scoring only one goal in 13 games. However, his form Chelsea earlier in the year could be enough to see him win the main award.
The full 2019 Ballon d’Or shortlist
Christiano Ronaldo; Lionel Messi; Virgil van Dijk; Sadio Mane; Sergio Aguero; Frenkie de Jong; Hugo Lloris; Dusan Tadic; Kylian Mbappe; Trent Alexander-Arnold; Donny van de Beek; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Marc-André ter Stegen; Alisson; Matthijs de Ligt; Karim Benzema; Georginio Wijnaldum; Bernardo Silva; Heung-min Son; Robert Lewandowski; Roberto Firmino; Kevin De Bruyne; Antoine Griezmann; Eden Hazard; Joao Felix; Kalidou Koulibaly; Riyad Mahrez; Marquinhos; Mo Salah; Raheem Sterling.