Ballon d'Or 2019: How the 30 nominees should have been ranked


Barcelona's Lionel Messi is the winner of the 2019 Ballon d'Or.

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 15 hours or so, you'll know that to be the case, but you might not be aware of how the 30 nominees were all ranked.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk collected the silver medal after missing out by just seven votes, while Cristiano Ronaldo - who was busy at a Serie A awards ceremony - rounded off the podium.

However, there has been no shortage of controversy surrounding how the 30 players have been organised and here at GIVEMESPORT, we've sought to address that fact.

So, we've decided to draw up how we think the 30 players should have been ordered and you can check out our alternative Ballon d'Or result down below. It's bound to spark debate.

30. Hugo Lloris (-7)

Seriously, what has Lloris actually achieved in 2019? The Frenchman has been between the sticks for a calendar year at Tottenham that brought 12 league defeats in 31 matches.

While he did feature in Spurs' run to the Champions League final, he conceded four goals to Manchester City and three to Ajax en route. He simply shouldn't have been nominated.

Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton FC - Premier League

29. Joao Felix (-1)

Let's not overhype the lad. Sure, Felix deserves to be in contention for awards like the Kopa Trophy, but the Ballon d'Or? Too much, too soon and he collected zero votes as a result.

Club Atletico de Madrid v Real Madrid CF  - La Liga

28. Kalidou Koulibaly (-4)

There is no doubting that Koulibaly is one of the best defenders in the world and he's the first player on our rankings that deserved a nomination.

However, no victories in club competitions and some shakier performances against world-class opposition means we're putting him near the back of the queue.


27. Donny van de Beek (+1)

It was good to see Van de Beek getting the recognition he deserved for his role at Ajax during the phenomenal 2018-19 season, but he only deserves a top 30 place by the skin of his teeth.


26. Georginio Wijnaldum (-)

The Ballon d'Or votes got this one spot on. Wijnaldum played a crucial role in Liverpool's Champions League triumph, he just bore a smaller influence than 25 other players on the list.

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

25. Marquinhos (+3)

Winning the Ligue 1 title, Trophee des Champions and - most importantly - the Copa America rounded off a brilliant year for the Paris Saint-Germain defender.

An increased position of three sounds more generous than we intended, it's just that the Brazilian was cruelly shovelled to joint last in the actual vote. Yes, that doesn't mean below Lloris.


24. Antoine Griezmann (-6)

Seriously, what has Griezmann actually done in 2019? We're having to resist pushing him further down the list.

The Frenchman produced his worst goal-scoring season for Atletico Madrid, notched up just four goals for France and is struggling to find his feet at Barcelona.

FC Barcelona  v RC Celta de Vigo  - La Liga

23. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (-3)

Goals, goals, goals. Despite playing in an Arsenal team that floundered under Unai Emery, the Gabon international found the net 28 times and won the Premier League Golden Boot.

We do think he was ranked too generously in the Ballon d'Or vote, though, considering the closest he came to a trophy was being romped 4-1 in the Europa League final.


22. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (+2)

Arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, it seems strange that Ter Stegen finds himself in this area of the list, but we think the voters were roughly spot on considering the competition.


21. Karim Benzema (+5)

The fact Benzema found himself joint second bottom is nothing short of scandalous and Real Madrid would be in dire straights post-Ronaldo if it wasn't for his goal-scoring.

Simply scoring 33 times in 2019 means the Frenchman should be well clear of players like Griezmann and Felix in the rankings. 


20. Dusan Tadic (-)

Yeh, 20th is about right for Tadic. The former Southampton player produced some outrageous goal and assist statistics last season, but two of his teammates managed to outdo him in 2019...

Ajax v Utrecht - Eredivisie

19. Son Heung-min (+3)

Call us controversial for boosting a player with no trophies in 2019, but it would be short-sighted to ignore Son's pivotal role in a team reaching the Champions League final that was never expected to.

We think the South Korean played a greater individual role for his club in the biggest competitions than players like Benzema and Aubameyang, despite their superior scoring records.


18. Roberto Firmino (-1)

Knocking Firmino down one place is no slight on him, just a compliment to other players.

Firmino's role in both Copa America and Champions League victories must be applauded, but we'd be naive if we didn't disclaim that 2018-19 actually saw his goals and assists plateau at Anfield.


17. Riyad Mahrez (-7)

Now, we actually think that Mahrez has been given a harsh reception in the Ballon d'Or, because lest we forget his influence on Algeria's historic Africa Cup of Nations victory.

But come along, tenth place was far too generous and we can't reward Mahrez too much when he's struggling to make the Manchester City team. 2019/20 has started far better for him, mind.


16. Trent Alexander-Arnold (+3)

The best full-back in the world this year deserved to be closer to the top 15, so we've delivered that for him after a Champions League victory and Premier League season that brought 12 assists.

Liverpool FC v Arsenal FC - Premier League

15. Sergio Aguero (+1)

Look, goals win games and Aguero notched up 32 in this year alone, including hat-tricks against Arsenal and Chelsea. He also won the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield for good measure.

Manchester City v Watford FC - Premier League

14. Matthijs de Ligt (+1)

The best young player in the world right now. De Ligt collected the Kopa Trophy on Monday night and the Ballon d'Or voters placed the Juventus man pretty much perfectly.

The Dutchman was a colossus beyond his years at Ajax last season and despite a shaky start, has soundly adjusted to life competing with Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.


13. Eden Hazard (-)

Bang on. Hazard has made a slow start to life at Real Madrid, but he closed out his Chelsea spell with a remarkable individual season and produced a masterclass in the Europa League final.


12. Frenkie de Jong (-1)

If you're looking for mind-blowing goal and assist stats, then De Jong isn't your man, but some of the football he played during Ajax's Champions League run was simply incredible.

And the Dutchman has already settled into life at Barcelona with relative ease. We just think the Ballon d'Or overrated him by a single place.

SD Eibar SAD v FC Barcelona  - La Liga

11. Kevin De Bruyne (+3)

If you think we've bumped up De Bruyne's placing by three on subjectivity alone, you're probably right but come on, look at the football he's been playing in the Premier League.

The man is an absolute genius, is on course to break Thierry Henry's assist record and the PFA Player of the Year award is already his to lose.

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League

10. Raheem Sterling (+2)

If it wasn't for the international football success of a teammate, Sterling would be the highest ranked City player because, well, he's been their best player throughout 2019 as a whole.

Aside from producing his best goal-scoring season yet and finding the net twice in the FA Cup final, the 24-year-old also helped himself to eight strikes in nine caps for England.


9. Bernardo Silva (-)

It seems incredibly harsh to keep Silva in his original place when you consider he won the UEFA Nations League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup. It's just eight players did marginally better in our opinion.

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final

8. Kylian Mbappe (-2)

You can't argue with Mbappe's numbers and the fact he scored 39 goals in 42 appearances last season before his 21st birthday is simply staggering.

But we can't take too much from victories in Ligue 1 and Trophee des Champions when you're comparing him to Champions League, Copa America and European Golden Shoe winners.

France v Moldova - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

7. Mohamed Salah (-2)

We seriously toyed with shuffling Salah further down the list, to be honest.

However, you can't ignore that the Egyptian won a second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot and scored the goal that ultimately secured Liverpool their sixth European crown.

Liverpool FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

6. Alisson Becker (+1)

The world's best goalkeeper has been better than Salah in 2019, what more can we say? Alisson also collected more clean sheets than anyone in the Premier League and Copa America.

KRC Genk v Liverpool FC: Group E - UEFA Champions League

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (-2)

If Messi was placed in fifth last year, then Ronaldo should go home and count his lucky stars that he managed third place. We're knocking him down a few pegs for good measure.

We'll hold our hands up and say he's been phenomenal for Portugal this year, but 34 goals in 2019 is bang average by his standards and he's only scored four times from open play this season.

Simply put, how could we justify placing him any higher?


4. Robert Lewandowski (+4)

Eighth place for the top goal-scorer in Europe's top five leagues in 2019 was simply brainless and we think the Bayern Munich man should breeze above Ronaldo here.

Until recently, Lewandowski had scored in every single Bundesliga and Champions League game this season - and is on course for a better goal tally than Ronaldo and Messi have ever produced. 


3. Sadio Mane (+1)

The most crucial player for the club that won the Champions League and has flown out of the blocks in the Premier League, the fact of the matter is that Mane has been better than Ronaldo in 2019.

Mane has found the net 29 times in the calendar year despite not taking a single penalty and also inspired Senegal to an Africa Cup of Nations final they couldn't have reached without him.

Liverpool FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

2. Virgil van Dijk (-)

Deserved. Van Dijk was an absolute colossus at the back for Liverpool during their historic Premier League points tally and sixth Champions League triumph last season.

But even for a defender that went an entire campaign without being dribbled past, he just couldn't quite produce the moments of magic that a little man from Barcelona could...

Northern Ireland v Netherlands - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

1. Lionel Messi (-)

Sue us, we agree with the decision of the world's journalists. Messi might not have enjoyed one of his most silverware-ladened years, but it was one of his finest campaigns as an individual.

We're talking about rewarding the number one player in the world and Messi top-scored last season's La Liga, the Champions League, Europe's top five leagues - and almost bagged more assists for good measure.


So, yes, we're pretty confident that Messi was the right choice.

Just because he missed out on the Champions League and Copa del Rey, we shouldn't ignore that this is an individual award and love them or hate them, they're naturally biased to forward players.

But even if you factor in Van Dijk's undeniable individual influence, too, the statistics just don't quite leave the stratosphere like Messi's indescribable goal and assists tallies do. Sorry, Virgil.

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