Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have monopolized the football world over the past decade.
These two superstars have won the last nine Awards, with Messi taking five and Ronaldo grabbing the other four. And in fact, both players have finished either first or second in all but one of those years. There is no doubt are the best players in the world right now, but eventually they will retire. After all, Ronaldo is 32 and Messi is two years younger. It is not crazy to think they will decrease their play sooner than later. But there is enough talent in the world to take their place in the throne.
Here are three players that are likely to win the Ballon D’Or Award over the next 10 years.
Neymar has always been mentioned as the player who should receive the label of “football’s best player” once Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire. And now that he left FC Barcelona to join PSG, he will get the chance to truly lead a team on his own. He already showed flashes of that while playing for Las Blaugranas. But now all the spotlights will be on him. And while the season just started a few weeks ago, he is already making strides both at the club and country level.
Aside from leading Brazil to the top spot in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers, Neymar has been nothing short of excellent with PSG since his arrival during the summer. The 25-year-old Brazilian winger already has five goals and five assists in five games for PSG across all competitions. Les Parisiens are yet to face a competitive opponent, but that doesn’t really matter here. Neymar has taken (another) step forward in his development, and he seems determined to prove he is the best player in the world right now.
Unless something dramatic happens, it’s easy to imagine him winning at least a few Ballon D’Or Awards before he retires. He’s just too good not to be considered the best player in the world if we exclude Messi and Ronaldo of the picture.
Paulo Dybala has always been surrounded by hype. The former Palermo star has drawn comparisons to Messi as soon as he started playing in the Serie A, and those have not stopped now that he is thriving at Juventus. The Argentinian striker is one of the best forwards in the world, and has enough potential to eventually win the Ballon D’Or in the near future.
Dybala will most likely be in contention for the Award once Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo retire. It remains to be seen whether he will spent his career with The Old Lady or if he will move elsewhere, as he has been constantly linked with a move to FC Barcelona. But if there is one thing that is already clear is that he is an extremely talented player.
The numbers back him up. Dybala has scored 49 goals in 99 matches for Juventus, and started this season on impressive form with seven goals in five matches across all competitions. If we consider he is only 23, then time is on his side to keep improve. And if he is only scratching the surface of his potential, then we might be in presence of one of the best attacking players in the last 30 years.
Harry Kane and Marco Asensio could have found himself in this list, but missed the cut. Same goes for Kylian Mbappe who, even though has dazzled the world as an 18-year-old, needs to prove himself for a while to show he is the real deal.
Isco, on the other hand, is a complete forward who is quickly ascending the ranks of stardom. He might never be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi or Neymar. But he is talented enough to find his name on that same group of world-class players sooner than later.
The Spaniard started the season on torrid form. He dazzled in the Spanish Super Cup against FC Barcelona, and has been one of the best players for Real Madrid during the past 12 months. The former Malaga playmaker started last year on a secondary role, but won Zinedine Zidane’s trust as the year went on. Isco took advantage of Gareth Bale’s injury, and never left the starting XI. Out of nowhere he became a key player for Madrid, and the club extended his contract until 2022 this past Thursday.
The 25-year-old seems to have turned a corner for good. And while he is older than both Neymar and Dybala and is not much of a scorer, his impressive form could lead him to become one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. And who knows? Maybe one good year is all he needs to claim the Award in the future.
Others who received consideration: Kylian Mbappe, Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Marco Asensio, Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne.
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