The day when they both decide they’ve had enough of embarrassing defences isn’t going to be anytime soon, but it is going to come eventually. So what will that mean? Well, they’ll be a lot less internet debate, a lot fewer hat-tricks being scored and eventually a new Ballon d'Or winner.
It will be weird not seeing one of them lift the trophy, but when that day comes, who’ll be their successor?
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The Brazilian seems the obvious choice to supersede his teammate and his rival; the winger is like a cocktail of Messi and Ronaldo's best attributes: he has Messi’s dribbling and finesse finishing alongside Ronaldo’s raw pace – not a bad combination.
At the age of 23, Neymar will probably reach his peak around the age Messi and Ronaldo are enduring their decline, so naturally Barca will look to him to become their new talisman. Can Neymar handle that pressure and responsibility?
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In fairness, considering his performances for Brazil, he seems more than capable of carrying the weight of expectation. If he manages to do that, he has everything needed to become the king of football.
Hazard is similar to Neymar in his style of play and age, but the Belgian offers a different side to the Barcelona forward. Whereas Neymar typically relies on the skill and ability of his teammates – Hazard is the standout creative force in a notoriously dull side.
If Hazard was enjoying playing one-twos with Messi and Iniesta, he might stand out more than Neymar does. He was Chelsea’s get out of jail free card last season; whenever Jose’s men were struggling, he’d pull out a piece of magic. If the current Premier League Player of the Year continues his rapid improvement, the Ballon D’or is a very achievable target.
It’s hard to argue the case for someone who isn't a regular for their club or national side, but Isco is no ordinary player. Unlike the previous two, Isco struggles physically, relying on sheer technical ability to make him stand out. It takes some player to dominate a game of football who lacks pace and strength.
The Spanish international has been a regular in the team this season, much to the delight of the Madrid faithful, who much prefer his grace and elegance to Bale's raw speed and power. Given his consistent performances, maybe this will be the breakthrough season Isco has been waiting for.
Messi and Ronaldo are irreplaceable
Whoever the next Ballon D’or winner is – they’ll have a lot to live up to. When the award is given to someone who only manages to score a measly 30 goals in a season, maybe we’ll realise just how special Messi and Ronaldo are. We’ll probably look back and realise how lucky we were to witness two of the best players ever going head to head in their prime. For the time being though, we’ll continue to criticise them for only scoring one goal in a game.
Who do you think will be the next Balon d'Or winner that isn't Messi or Ronaldo? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below.
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