Lionel Messi has topped a vote by 80,000 football fans on the 2019 Ballon d'Or

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The race for the Ballon d'Or has been blown wide open in recent weeks.

It looked as though Lionel Messi was nailed on for the award coming into the final month of the season, but a dramatic end to the campaign has given France Football plenty to think about.

Despite wrapping up yet another La Liga title, there was humiliation for Barcelona as they surrendered a 3-0 aggregate lead against Liverpool to crash out of the Champions League.

One disappointment was quickly followed by another as, fresh from missing out on the treble, Messi and co. couldn't even secure a double by losing to Valencia in the Copa del Rey climax.

Further to that, Messi was left bitterly disappointed on international duties again and failed to make an impact of note during Argentina's semi-final elimination at the Copa America.

Who will win the Ballon d'Or?

The same can't be said of Cristiano Ronaldo, though, who struck a sensational hat-trick on his way to winning a second international trophy with Portugal - the UEFA Nations League.

Then, things got even worse for Messi's chance when the indomitable Virgil van Dijk delivered a Man of the Match performance to help Liverpool to Champions League glory in Madrid.

Obviously, there is a still a long way to go before the winner is announced, but plenty of bookmakers would have you believe that Messi is no longer the favourite.

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Football fans vote for Messi

The counterargument to that, of course, is that the Barcelona star still produced more goals than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues as well as goal contributions in general.

Bearing that in mind, TV presenter Adriano Del Monte decided to run a Twitter poll, so that football fans could decide whether Messi, Van Dijk, Ronaldo or even Sadio Mane should win.

The ballot was a whopping success with almost 85,000 supporters casting their opinion and the result looks very interesting now that voting has closed - check it out below:

1. Lionel Messi - 47%

2. Virgil van Dijk - 30%

3. Cristiano Ronaldo - 17%

4. Sadio Mane - 6%

In truth, it's a pretty convincing victory for Messi, who almost collected a vote from half the participants and was selected by approximately 40,000 supporters in general.

Credit to Van Dijk for finishing second and achieving the impressive feat of topping Ronaldo, but fans aren't convinced he should be the first defensive winner since Fabio Cannavaro. 

Barcelona v Liverpool - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg

Mane can also hold his head high and despite coming rock bottom in the vote, few fans would have predicted that he would even have been in the conversation this time last year.

So, the bookmakers are pointing towards Van Dijk and football fans think Messi is worthy winner, meaning it could all come down to who makes a better start in the 2019-20 season.

France Football will have the final say on this later, but fans can start to look forward to one of the closest Ballon d'Or races that we've ever seen. It's going to be controversial.

Who do you think should win the Ballon d'Or this year? Have your say in the comments section below. 

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