With the exception of 2018, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the Ballon d’Or since 2008.
Luka Modric’s victory was an anomaly as Messi (six wins) and Ronaldo (five wins) have made the accolade their own.
But when the 2020 Ballon d’Or winner is announced, Ronaldo will be 35-years-old and Messi will be 33-years-old.
It certainly wouldn’t be a shock to see one of the incredible duo win the award yet again. However, we could be seeing a new winner as the pair begin to wane.
But who are amongst the favourites to be crowned the winner in December?
Well, Goal have used their ‘Power Rankings’ to work out the 20 most likely winners. Remember, the Ballon d’Or is based on performances in the calendar year so only performances in 2020 are taken into account.
Let’s take a look:
20 | Josip Ilicic | Atalanta
Fourteen goals and five assists in 11 appearances in 2020 is Ballon d’Or winning form. The 32-year-old scored FOUR on Tuesday night against Valencia to help his Atalanta side ease through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
19 | Virgil van Dijk | Liverpool
2019’s runner-up, Van Dijk looks set to help Liverpool to Premier League glory. If he can inspire them to a comeback against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, he will certainly jump up this list.
18 | Ciro Immobile | Lazio
The leader in this year’s European Golden Shoe with 27 goals in Serie A. But with Lazio not in European competitions in 2019/20, he will have to lead his side to domestic glory - or Italy to Euro 2020 glory - if he wants to have any chance of winning the Ballon d’Or.
17 | Casemiro | Real Madrid
Casemiro is arguably Real Madrid’s most important player at the moment. If Real win La Liga and the Champions League, the Ballon d’Or winner could well come from the Bernabeu club. He could also help Brazil win another Copa America.
16 | Paulo Dybala | Juventus
Paulo Dybala is turning his Juventus career around and could help his side to an unprecedented treble this season. Since the turn of the year, the Argentine has managed four goals and seven assists. Could he be Argentina’s star this summer?
15 | Mohamed Salah | Liverpool
Salah has managed seven goals in 10 Premier League games in 2020 and could yet win his third consecutive Golden Boot as Liverpool romp to the title. With no summer tournament to look forward to, the Egyptian may need to help Liverpool to another Champions League to catch the attention of the voters.
14 | Sergio Aguero | Man City
Aguero has hit form in 2020, scoring nine goals in 11 matches. He’s already helped City win one trophy and will be looking to help City to their first ever Champions League triumph. There’s also this summer’ Copa America to impress too.
13 | Jordan Henderson | Liverpool
Henderson may have won the PFA Player of the Year simply due to the fact that he was injured during Liverpool’s recent struggles. Captaining the Reds to Premier League and Champions League glory - and vice-captaining England to the European Championships - then Henderson will genuinely be a contender.
12 | Bruno Fernandes | Man Utd
What a start Fernandes has made to his Manchester United career. Three goals and three assists in his seven appearances so far has seemingly transformed United’s season. Surely he’s not a real candidate, though…
11 | Timo Werner | RB Leipzig
Werner has only managed three Bundesliga goals in 2020 as Leipzig’s chances of winning the title appear to be slipping away. But he’s helped his side into the quarter-finals of the Champions League and good performances in this summer’s Euro’s could see him seal a big-money move.
10 | Serge Gnabry | Bayern Munich
Gnabry’s two goals against Chelsea look set to help Bayern ease to the quarter-finals of the Champions League. His five goals and three assists in eight appearances in the Bundesliga this year has also seen the Bavarians take control.
9 | Neymar | Paris Saint-Germain
Could Neymar actually do what people tipped him to do years ago and win a Ballon d’Or?
His eight goals in nine games has seen him start 2020 strongly but you feel he needs PSG to go deep in the Champions League if he wants to make the podium at the very least.
8 | Sadio Mane | Liverpool
Many weren’t happy to see Mane finish fourth in the 2019 Ballon d’Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo last season. Can he go better this time around? He’ll surely lift the Premier League title but will need to help Jurgen Klopp’s side win another Champions League if he wants to claim the individual award.
7 | Kylian Mbappe | Paris Saint-Germain
Mbappe will surely win the Ballon d’Or one day but 2020 might come too soon. He has scored 12 goals in 12 games in 2020. Can he inspire PSG to Champions League glory? If he can and then follow that up with helping France win Euro 2020, he’ll surely be the favourite.
6 | Jadon Sancho | Borussia Dortmund
An Englishman winning the Ballon d’Or? Surely not. But the 19-year-old’s form in 2020 has been magnificent with Borussia Dortmund still holding out hope of winning the Bundesliga.
5 | Lionel Messi | Barcelona
Messi’s chances of winning a seventh Ballon d’Or in 2020 currently look fairly slim. He’s only managed to score in three La Liga matches in 2020 - although he did score four in one of those. A lot will depend on whether his Barca side can win the league and how far they can go in the Champions League. He’s also got the chance to finally help Argentina to Copa America glory in the summer.
4 | Erling Haaland | Borussia Dortmund
Like Mbappe, Haaland will surely win the Ballon d’Or one year. Could it be in 2020? The Norwegian has managed 12 goals in 10 appearances this year, including a brace against PSG in the Champions League last-16. He’ll surely need to lead Dortmund to glory in Europe if he’s to pip his rivals to the accolade.
3 | Cristiano Ronaldo | Juventus
Nothing inspires Ronaldo more than seeing Messi pick up a Ballon d’Or. Ronaldo has scored 13 goals in 10 domestic matches but the Old Lady are on the brink of elimination from the Champions League after a defeat to Lyon. If he manages to turn that tie around, he has every chance of winning his sixth Ballon d’Or.
2 | Robert Lewandowski | Bayern Munich
Lewandowski has been ruled out until April, which may harm his Ballon d’Or chances. Before that, he had contributed nine goals in eight matches to put Bayern top of the Bundesliga. Like many of the previous candidates, a lot will depend on whether he can lead his side to Champions League glory.
1 | Kevin De Bruyne | Man City
De Bruyne won’t be winning another Premier League title this season but the Belgian has still had another brilliant campaign. He could break the assist record in England’s top-flight and will be key if City are to win their maiden Champions League. He can also inspire Belgium to a Euro 2020 win.
Of course, it’s impossible to win a Ballon d’Or in the opening months of the year.
A lot depends on which clubs win their domestic league, the Champions League and then this summer’s international tournaments.
When it comes to the voting at the end of the year, what happened in the opening months of the season will be all forgotten about.
- UEFA consider postponing Euro 2020 until next year so leagues can finish this summer
- Kylian Mbappe has been tested for coronavirus
- The only Valencia fan in the Mestalla for Atalanta match is their most loyal