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Cristiano Ronaldo.

Seven players would have won the Ballon d'Or if Ronaldo and Messi didn't exist

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Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's dominance in the Ballon d'Or reached new heights in Paris, France, on Thursday night.

It's now 10 years since a player that wasn't Ronaldo or Messi won football's most prestigious individual prize, with the former claiming the 2017 award to make it 5-5 between the two.

And that's set to continue for the foreseeable future. Ronaldo may have struggled for goals in La Liga of late, but he continues to smash it in the Champions League.

The Real Madrid star bagged nine goals in the group stages and became the first player ever to score in all six games.

And then you have Messi, who has been nigh-on unstoppable in La Liga this season, scoring 13 goals and firing Barcelona to the top of the table.

So spare a thought for the likes of Neymar, Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann, who all harbour aspirations of winning the Ballon d'Or but probably won't until 2020 at the earliest.

In fact, spare a thought for those who have finished third in the Ballon d'Or rankings over the past 10 years.

If Ronaldo and Messi didn't exist - but thank God they do - there are seven players who would have a Golden Ball in their trophy cabinet right now.

TOPSHOT-FBL-FIFA-AWARDS

And they are:

2017 - Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil)

2016 - Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France)

2015 - Neymar (Barcelona and Brazil)

2014 - Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany)

2013 - Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich and France)

2012 - Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain)

2011 - Xavi (Barcelona and Spain)

2010 - Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain)

2009 - Xavi (Barcelona and Spain)

2008 - Fernando Torres (Liverpool and Spain)

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel M

Imagine how frustrated Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Neymar must feel, but it just goes to show how good Ronaldo and Messi have been over the past 10 years.

Xavi and Iniesta were particularly influential during the Pep Guardiola era, inspiring three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions Leagues.

But neither compared to Messi, who was arguably at the peak of his powers from 2008-2012 and memorably scored 91 goals in a calendar year.

Ronaldo and Messi's dominance will eventually come to an end, but as Ronaldo put it at Thursday's ceremony, their battle for supremacy is here to stay.

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Topics:
Barcelona
Andres Iniesta
Real Madrid
Neymar
Football
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo

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