The world of football will gather in Paris this evening, as the highly regarded Ballon d’Or is handed to the best player of 2019.
Virgil van Dijk is among the favourites for the award, and the Liverpool-man could become the first defender since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006, to win football’s top individual prize. Van Dijk has had a standout year for Liverpool, winning the PFA’s footballer of the year as Liverpool just missed out on a first Premier League title, as well as winning the Champions League.
The Sunday People’s Chief Sports Writer, Neil Moxley told Park Life Sport, that the Dutch defender would be a deserving winner of the award.
“He’s already carried off the European crown and Liverpool won the Champions League, that puts it into focus, successful players in successful teams,” Moxley said.
“He’s an absolute Roles Royce of a defender and I think he’s got a great chance of winning it.”
Also on the shortlist are five-time winners, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi is the only player on the shorlist to have scored more goals than games, scoring 51 times in 50 games. Ronaldo meanwhile, won a domestic title in a third country, winning Serie A in his debut season with Juventus, scoring 27 goals in the process.
England and Manchester City midfielder, Raheem Sterling also makes the shortlist. The 24 year-old won a second consecutive Premier League title with the Citizens and has been a leading figure in England’s European Championships qualifying campaign. Sterling has also been praised off the pitch, for being a voice in the battle against racism in football.
The winner, will succeed Luka Modric, who won the 2018 edition. The midfielder won the award after winning a fourth Champions League crown with Real Madrid, as well as reaching the World Cup final with Croatia. However, the former-Tottenham midfielder is not nominated for this year’s prize, making Van Dijk the favourite.
The 2019 Ballon d’Or full 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.