Did the 2018 World Cup signal the start of the end for Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s duopoly?
The two superstars were vying to get their hands on the biggest prize in football for the first time in Russia.
However, they both crashed out at the last-16 stage meaning neither Messi nor Ronaldo have scored a goal in the knockout stages.
With Messi’s Argentina and Ronaldo’s Portugal stumbling out of the competition on the very same day, it allowed two other players to flourish.
Kylian Mbappe scored twice as France dumped Messi’s Argentina out, while on the other side of the draw, Luka Modric led his Croatian side to the World Cup final.
Modric and Mbappe met in Moscow and Mbappe’s goal helped France triumph 4-2.
That didn’t stop Modric from picking up the tournament’s Golden Ball award - the award for the best player of the tournament - while Mbappe landed the Best Young Player Award.
But what does that all mean as far as the 2018 Ballon d’Or is concerned?
Of course, with it being an annual award, there is still plenty of time for things to change.
But the World Cup has had a massive impact in terms of odds for the award that will be given out in January 2019.
Bookmakers still have Cristiano Ronaldo as heavy favourite at 1/4 odds having helped Real Madrid win the Champions League whilst scoring four goals during the World Cup - including a hat-trick against Spain.
Ronaldo, of course, completed a £100 million move to Juventus last week.
If Ronaldo is first, then Messi is second, right?
Bookmakers now have Modric in second place. A Champions League triumph and a World Cup final isn’t a bad season for the 32-year-old.
Messi isn’t even third meaning the Argentine could drop off the Ballon d’Or podium for the first time since 2006.
Instead, 19-year-old Mbappe is third-favourite to get his hands on the prestigious individual accolade.
2018 BALLON D'OR ODDS
(Image courtesy of Oddschecker.com)
Of course, Messi could make a strong start to the campaign and still finish in the top three of voting but, currently, he’s rated at 12/1 to win the Ballon d’Or.
Outside the top four, Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Neymar are all rated 25/1 shots and will be fighting for fifth place.
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