The race to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or was probably decided this summer with the Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016 both taking place.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have shared the award for the past eight years, appeared in the tournaments but with vastly contrasting fortunes. Both made the final, but that was about as much as the two superstars had in common.
While Ronaldo won Euro 2016 with Portugal, Messi suffered heartache with Argentina. The Barcelona man announced his international retirement after the Albiceleste lost to Chile in a shootout, with Messi missing Argentina’s first penalty.
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Then Messi, 29, suffered further embarrassment when he was handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.
So it’s no surprise that his number one rival for the past decade is the favourite to win a fourth Ballon d’Or trophy at next year’s ceremony.
And even Messi’s teammates are willing to concede that Ronaldo will probably win the coveted award.
Neymar fancies Cristiano
Neymar, who finished third in the voting for the 2015 Ballon d’Or, reckons the Real Madrid man is in a “good position” to collect the gong.
“Winning titles plays a big role in the race for the Ballon d'Or," Neymar told Lance!, per Goal.
"Ronaldo won the Champions League and now Euro 2016 as well. So I reckon he is in a good position. Plus Ronaldo is a great player. I have no qualms in saying that."
Should the 31-year-old win the award, it will mark his third success in four years and will close the gap on Messi’s tally to one.
Who will win the 2016 Ballon d'Or? Let us know in the comments section below!