The stage is set for Monday night’s epochal ceremony of the Ballon d’Or, where the world’s best player of the current dispensation will be unveiled, megasportsarena.com reports.
The event will be the 64th annual ceremony of the Ballon d’Or, presented by France Football, and recognising the best footballer in the world for the year 2019. The winner will be announced at Theatre du Chatelet in Paris, France at 7:30pm.
Barcelona of Spain megastar, Lionel Messi is the major favourite to make history by becoming the first player to clinch a sixth such accolade, moving clear of fellow five-time winner, Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus of Italy in the all-time rankings.
However, Liverpool stopper, Virgil van Dijk, who helped his side win the UEFA Champions League title in June is still in the running to become the first defender to lift the Ballon d’Or since 2006, especially as he earlier carted home the European best player award, but Messi has an advantage of having already been named FIFA’s The Best Men’s Player for 2019.
It is now four years since he last lifted the award, but Messi once again looks like the man to beat in the Ballon d’Or race having returned to otherworldly figures in attack for Barca, for which his 40 goals in 2019 alone could be good enough reason to regain this year’s Golden Ball award.
Luka Modric winning the Ballon d’Or in 2018 broke the Ronaldo and Messi dominance over the last 10 years, with five apiece, but another upset could be pulled by Van Dijk tonight, especially after the in-form defender was awarded the UEFA Player of the Year award ahead of the duo.
Apart from helping The Reds win their first European title in 14 years, Van Dijk also contributed in Liverpool finishing just a point behind Manchester City in the English Premier League last season and then starred with Holland in placing second to Portugal in the UEFA Nations League.
Nonetheless, while Van Dijk’s efforts with Liverpool may give him an advantage in numbers, the path looks clear for Messi to sweep his sixth conquest of the Ballon d’Or, especially with Ronaldo suddenly faltering in a shaky season at Juve.
The bottom-line, therefore, says Messi is now favourite to win his sixth Ballon d’Or with odds of 1/9 , despite losing out on Copa America with Argentina as well the Champions League and Copa del Rey, but lifted La Liga with Barcelona and won the European Golden Shoe with 36 goals.