Five players who can emulate Luka Modric in denying Messi and Ronaldo the Ballon d’or
A week is a long time in football, 10 years are like an eon or at least that is how it must have felt for all those footballers trying to win the biggest individual prize in football -- the Ballon d’Or.
Luka Modric though finally broke the 10-year duopoly of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi by winning the coveted trophy with stellar performances not just for Real Madrid — winning the Champions League — but also for his national team as Croatia had a dream run into the final of the 2018 World Cup.
Without getting into the debate on whether Ronaldo or Messi are done winning the Ballon d’Or, Modric’s feat will once again instill the belief among other players that they too can have their names inscribed in the elite list of Ballon d’Or winners. But, it will not be an easy ride for those looking to make most of this breakthrough move from Modric as both the Portuguese and the Argentine will be doubly motivated to reclaim what they may think is rightfully theirs.
But for those waiting in the wings, the thought process should be simple — if Modric can, we can as well.
Here Hindustan Times looks at five players who could be vying for the Ballon d’Or over the next decade.
Kylian Mbappe – Just 19! Yes, 19 and already a World Cup winner. The potential is scary and Mbappe won the best young player award at the 2018 ceremony. With the youngster looking to get better with each passing minute, the Paris-Saint-Germain forward has class players around him at both international and club level to assist him in his journey. If he manages to keep his head in the right place, there is no reason why he won’t be the one with his hands on the trophy sooner than later.
Neymar – One of the reasons why Neymar moved to PSG from FC Barcelona was that he wanted to move out of Messi’s shadows and possibly win the Ballon d’Or. He hasn’t done anything yet to get even close, but we all know that he has immense potential and the arsenal needed to make the prized possession his own. The Brazilian would be desperate to emulate his compatriot Kaka who was the last one to win the award before Messi and Ronaldo started their own duel.
Paulo Dybala – Seen as heir apparent to Lionel Messi in the Argentina national team, Dybala has been ripping it up for Juventus since moving to the Turin club from Palermo. If the Bianconeri can break their jinx and win the Champions League then the little Argentine magician will definitely be in the reckoning to win the award. And with Messi in the twilight of his international career, there will be more opportunities in the black and white of Argentina and a Copa America or a World Cup will definitely lend a helping hand in the candidature.
Harry Kane – Goals, Goals and more goals! That is what you get when you have Harry Kane in your team. The England captain won the Golden Boot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and has been a machine for his club — Tottenham Hotspur — in the last few seasons as they bid to win trophies, domestic and in Europe. With the English national team on the up and Kane as captain there is no reason to think that a trophy is too far away. And if Spurs manage to win a trophy or two, the walk to the podium will get all the more easy for this talented striker.
Mohamed Salah – After a failed spell at Chelsea, Salah ripped up the Premier League with 32 goals for Liverpool. If that wasn’t enough to set the stands on fire, he followed that up with 12 more in other competitions. The Egyptian was showered with praises and awards. He won the Players’, Fans’ and Writers’ Player of the Year award as the Reds reached the final of the Champions League in which he unfortunately got injured. This season he has come out all guns blazing once again and the Merseyside club means business. Should Salah continue firing and if Liverpool end their trophy drought, then the Egyptian will be one of the front runners for the award.