The Ballon d’Or is a football award given by Football France to a male football player who has performed best over the previous year. The award is voted upon by journalists and has been handed out since 1956.
Current football superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are most synonymous with this award as each of the two soccer legends have won this award five times. Interestingly, both of them are among the favorites to win the award again this year although they have three Liverpool stalwarts alongside to compete with.
Here are the current odds to win the 2019 Ballon d’Or. Odds were taken from TitanBet as of 6/28/19:
|Virgil Van Dijk||-154|
|Matthijs de Ligt||+4000|
Who Are The Favorites?
Virgil Van Dijk has emerged as the top soccer betting favorite to win the award after a spectacular season. The Liverpool center-back is looking to become the first defender to win the Ballon d’Or award since Fabio Cannavaro of Italy in 2006. Van Dijk was named as PFA Player of the Year after leading Jurgen Krupp’s side to the best defensive record in the league and for playing an instrumental role in the team’s success in the Champions League. The towering Van Djik was also the captain of the Netherlands squad that finished as runner-up in the 2019 UEFA Nations League in Portugal earlier this month.
Lionel Messi enjoyed an excellent club season. The Argentina captain scored 36 goals in just 29 La Liga starts during a season where his Barcelona team won the Spanish football title. Their defeat to Liverpool in the semifinals of the Champions League is a blow but individually, Messi won the European Golden Shoe for the third straight season. Currently, he is leading his nation in the 2019 Copa America, hoping to win a tournament where they’ve lost in the Finals two editions in a row. Messi also has a 2014 World Cup finals loss hanging over his back but no doubt enjoyed the kind of success that is worthy of a sixth Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored 27 goals in his debut season with Italian champions Juventus. His hopes of winning a sixth award were dashed when Juventus made an uneventful quarterfinals exit at the Champions League. However, Juventus did win the Italian Serie A title. The Portuguese superstar completed a semi-final hat trick in the Nations League final. With Portugal winning the Nations League silverware at home, Ronaldo is certainly among the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or this year. He hasn’t finished outside the Top 3 in the voting for this award since 2010 and a strong start to the season should help push him to victory.
Mohamed Salah followed up a successful campaign at Liverpool with another brilliant season where he helped Jurgen Klopp’s side with achieving success at the Champions League. The Egyptian superstar forward scored 22 goals to win second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot, which he shared with Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and teammate Sadio Mane. The 26-year old is Egypt’s best hope of lifting the Africa Cup of Nations which they are currently hosting. A win there should boost his chances to win the Ballon d’Or.
Sadio Mane also played a key role in Liverpool’s Champions League success and helped them win a sixth European Cup. The Senegalese forward shared the Golden Boot award with teammate Salah and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang. He was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award before losing to Virgil Van Dijk. Like Mohamed Salah, he has a chance to boost his case at the Africa Cup of Nations where Senegal is among the favorites.
I think this goes down to Virgil Van Dijk and Lionel Messi. Both have accomplished great things this year, both individually and at the team level. But when it comes to the Ballon d’Or, it isn’t commonly given to defensemen. As we mentioned earlier, the last defenseman to win it was Cannavaro in 2006 but I think that was because they won the World Cup that year. Not to belittle Van Djik’s accomplishments but none of his feats this year was as big as winning the World Cup. Prediction: Lionel Messi