So, the FIFA World Cup 2018 is over now and France are the new world champions. France occupied their second ever world cup title with a squad that can intimidate any opposition on the planet. Too many match winners, too many great players and too many Ballon d’Or contenders.
Ballon d’Or is where it all stops. All talks about who is the greatest goes to dump when Ballon d’Or hits. The best players in the world collide their horns to become the best of the best and there is no other award more desiring for a football player than Ballon d’Or.
Ok, let’s just say, if the Ballon d’Or was to be awarded today, who would win?
We know what you must be thinking, for the last 10 years, the honor of receiving the most prestigious individual award in football has been shared by only two individuals- Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, both of them have 5 each. Although, considering this the world cup year, we finally could be seeing a new recipient of Ballon d’Or.
Keeping the 2017-18 club performances and World Cup 2018 performances in mind, let’s take a look at the new Ballon d’Or Power rankings of 2018.
Must Read: Top 10 FIFA World Cup 2018 Moments
10. N’Golo Kante
A french player of African descent, N’Golo Kante is one of the most humble players you will come across. But at the same time he is relentless on the football ground. He is one of the most consistent players in the world. Kante doesn’t belives in making mistakes and for any team whether national or club, he is a extemely reliable and a true gem. He is one of the main reasons behind France’s success in the World Cup 2018.
He is extremely dedicated. Kante played with a stomach bug in the finals of world cup 2018 before he was substituted in the 55th minute. He was shrugging and struggling throughout the entire game. But for the rest of the tournament, he reigned supreme as the king of the defence.
The only reason he is at 10 and not up in the list is because he is a defender and defender doens’t gets so much love in the Ballon d’Or rankings. And if Kante could be a little more consistent, let’s say in the finals, he would’ve more chances to challenge the other contenders for the Ballon d’Or.
9. Kevin De Bryne
Manchester City super striker Kevin De Bryne was excellent throughout the entire last season for Premier League and was one of the main reason why Man City lift the trophy. He was exceptional for Belgium in the World Cup 2018 as well. His only bad performance came in the game that they lose and eliminated from world cup dreams.
He had and excellent world cup and his half-season with his club Manchester City was exquisite as they dominated the premier league unlike anyone else and won the championship with a whopping 100 points, which is also a new record in England.
He is a complete striker. A snow-cold goal machine and can give assists like Mesut Ozil. He is currently amongst the Best players in the world and definitely belongs in a Ballon d’Or power rankings. Only if he’d had quality opponents, he would be somewhere way above in this list.
8. Eden Hazard
Just like his companion De Bryne, Eden Hazard had a magnificent world cup 2018. The Belgium captain proved that he is one of the most efficient players in the world. He scored goals, gave assists and led his team to the semi-finals. Right now, he so good that Real Madrid set their eyes on him following the departure of Ronaldo.
Although, with only FA cup in his list, he doesn’t have many club accomplishments this year to back him up but still his world cup performances has put him up in the Ballon d’Or talks. He may not be running with the big dogs for the Ballon d’Or but he has done enough to get his name mentioned in the Ballon d’Or rankings.
Although, nothing has been confirmed still, but news is that Real Madrid could bid way outta their pockets for the majestic chelsea dribbler. This may cause some fans in West london to go into shock.
7. Mohamed Salah
A couple months ago, Mohamed Salah was in top 3 Ballon d’Or rankings, running with the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. He was magnificent the last season and won many individual Best player awards but the downfall of the Egyptian Pharaoh started from the Champions League.
The game between Real Madrid and Liverpool ended in a disaster not only for the Reds for Salah personally when he sustained a shoulder injury from Sergio Ramos. Although, he was fit by the time of the world cup, but that didn’t stopped Egypt from getting eliminated in the first round.
His great performance against Manchester City in the quarter-finals last season and the fact that he had a great time last season in the premier league scoring numerous goals last season, that’s the only reason he is given a place in this list.
6. Harry Kane
Harry Kane just like his name suggest brought the ‘Hurricane’ to Russia in world cup 2018. Not only was he the top goal scorer but he also led the three lions to one step far from the glory. Too bad England couldn’t pass the semi-finals test against Croatia, otherwise he would’ve been higher on the list.
Harry Kane is better than Messi and Ronaldo, atleast in the terms of not missing a penalty. England won two penlaties against Panama and Harry cleaned them both off the net.
The English skipper had a fantastic run at the premier league last season where he scored 41 goals for his team “Tottenham Hotspurs” and went on a mission to bring the cup back home instead brought the Golden Boot.
In the process, he also became the only second English player to score a hat-trick in a world cup match against Tunisia.
For his accomplishment in the world cup and for Tottenham last season, he deserves a praise and an entry to the Ballon d’Or Power rankings.
5. Antoine Griezmann
Last few months has brought wild success to the French captain Antoine Griezmann. First winning the Europa league with his club Athletico Madrid and then went on to becoming the 2018 world champions. Just unreal.
Griezmann is a combination of talents. He’s got speed, endurance, he can dribble but most importantly he scores and give assists when the team needs him to. His world cup performance ( 4 goals, 2 assists) are an indication of what sort of talent this 27 year old world champion possesses.
Although, he still has to work on his finishing touch as sometimes he looks faded and completely gassed and sometimes he is a monster scoring tally of goals. The French skipper has much more to offer and he is a major candidate for a future Ballon d’Or winner.
4. Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappa was a nominee in the Ballon d’Or power rankings in 2017 when he was barely 18 years old and with his recent performances, we can now say that it was well deserved. A 19 year old kid with the stats of a legend, now running with the big dawgs for the most prestigious individual award in football history.
You may be having a good year, a great year or even a magnificent year but you are not having a year like Kylian Mbappe. Only 19 years old and already a world champion, something that even the likes of Ronaldo and Messi hasn’t accomplished yet.
He was great for his club Paris Saint-Germain last season with both goal-scoring and assists. He is so fast that nobody, not even Cristiano Ronaldo could catch or match him right now.
Won the world cup at 19, became the only second youngster to score in a final after pele, winning the Best young player award and destroying Messi’s Argentina defences to shreds are some of his recent accomplishments. And did i mentioned he is just 19? He made a millions of new fans and we will have to see if their generosity gets him the Ballon d’Or. Although, it’s unlikely, but this kid has won the world cup and our hearts.
3. Lionel Messi
The chances for the GOAT Messi doesn’t look so bright in the Ballon d’Or 2018 power rankings especially after the terrible performance of Argentina in the world cup 2018.
Messi the only guy who can dribble through the entire defence for the first time in a decade moved to the 3rd spot in Ballon d’Or rankings mostly because he deserves a team seasoned to keep up with the unmatched talent that he possesses and breathtaking performances.
Argentinian team, despite having a number of good players was terrible. The 2014 finalists struggled to pass even through the group stage. Messi magic seemed to be faded alongside to poor passing and assists gone wrong. On the other hand, despite of his successful domestic stint with Barcelona , they still couldn’t pass through the champions league challenge and for two years consecutively.
That must be a needle poked to Messi’s Ballon d’Or Balloon. But nevertheless, only being Messi is enough to remain in top three of anything, let alone Ballon d’Or power rankings.
2. Luka Modric
If someone say Luka Modric doesn’t deserve to be here, he must be a football hater. Luka Modric is the most popular and probably one of the most successful mid-fielders in the world. And he is not on the no. 1 in this list only because Croatia didn’t win the world cup.
He has the best of the chance to win the Ballon d’Or. He has won last three consecutive champions leagues and a club world cup and took his team which is widely considered as underdogs to the finals of the biggest stage of football and won Golden Ball for his magnificent individual performances.
But don’t let it fool you, although he guided his team from midfield all the way to the finals but there was nothing new in it. He has been doing the same thing for Real Madrid for many years and that is one of the main reasons behind Madrid immense success in last few years.
For the first time in a decade, we could see a player not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi holding the Ballon d’Or and no-one deserves it better than Luka Modric.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo have the spectacular opportunity to finally lead Lionel Messi if he wins the Ballon d’Or this year. There was a time when Messi was leading 4-1 but if Ronaldo wins this year, he would put the conversations to stop and will create a new record with 6 Ballon d’Ors, leading 6-5 against his lifelong rival – Messi.
Portugal’s start at the world cup was pretty amazing with Ronaldo smashing a fantastic hat-trick against Spain. But from the next match onwards, Ronaldo magic disappeared like a turd in the wind which leads to the early elimination of the 2016 Euro champions.
Ronaldo’s chances for Ballon d’Or are relying upon his champions league performances against PSG and Juventus and his little showcase of exquisiteness against Spain in the world cup whereas Messi’s magic was nowhere to be seen.
Only if croatia would have won the world cup, Modric chances to win the Ballon d’Or would be unbeatable. Saying that, Ronaldo still has the most chances to win the prize and create a new record. Guess, we’ll just have to wait and watch.