Ronaldo, Messi & Neymar: The winner of the last 20 Ballon d'Ors if the age cut off was 23

Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d'Or six times

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year will not see a Ballon d'Or winner crowned.

France Football have declared that the prestigious accolade will not be awarded to a player in 2020 and it's a crying shame, especially if your name is Robert Lewandowski.

The Bayern Munich striker has been comfortably the best player in the world this year, helping secure a treble for the German giants in 2019/20.

So with the Ballon d'Or taking a year's sabbatical, we've decided to get creative.

After scrolling through the archives and endless lists of votes, we here at GIVEMESPORT have found the winner of each year's accolade if the age cut off was 23-years-old.

Lionel Messi with the Ballon d'Or

Let's take a look at the results. We've also made sure to namecheck the actual winner of the Ballon d'Or for each year as well.

2000 | Winner, Thierry Henry

The Frenchman was starring for Arsenal as a 23-year-old at the start of the millennium, finishing fourth in the voting. Luis Figo was the actual winner.

2001 | Winner, Michael Owen

Owen was also the overall winner of the accolade in 2001 after a sensational year with Liverpool and England at the age of just 21.

2002 | Winner, Ronaldinho

The Brazilian icon actually finished 12th in the voting back in 2002 as a 22-year-old. Ronaldo Nazario won the award after firing his country to World Cup glory.

Ronaldinho at the 2002 World Cup

2003 | Winner, Zlatan Ibrahimovic

That's right, the Swede was firing on all cylinders 17 years ago at the age of 22. Zlatan finished joint 20th in the voting, Juventus' Pavel Nedved claiming first place.

2004 | Winner, Adriano

Oh what could have been. The former Inter Milan goal scoring machine finished sixth in the Ballon d'Or voting as a 22-year-old. AC Milan icon Andriy Shevchenko won the award.

2005 | Winner, Adriano

Two in a row for Adriano! This time around, the Brazilian finished seventh, while his fellow countryman Ronaldinho took top spot.

Adriano with Inter Milan

2006 | Winner, Franck Ribery

After missing out to Lionel Messi in 2013, the Bayern legend wins our hypothetical 23 or under Ballon d'Or! The Frenchman finished 13th as a 23-year-old as Fabio Cannavaro memorably secured the coveted accolade.

2007 | Winner, Cristiano Ronaldo

The Portuguese superstar finished second in 2007 at the age of 22. Kaka won the award, finishing with 167 more points than Ronaldo.

2008 | Winner, Cristiano Ronaldo

There was no chance of a silver medal for Ronaldo in 2008 after guiding Manchester United to a Premier League and Champions League double. He's the last Premier League player to win the Ballon d'Or and he did so at the age of just 23.

Ronaldo with Man Utd in 2008

2009 | Winner, Lionel Messi

Messi went one better than his eternal rival and secured his first Ballon d'Or at 22-years-old. He's won five more since.

2010 | Winner, Lionel Messi

Two on the bounce for both Ronaldo and Messi. The Argentine superstar was the overall winner too.

2011 | Winner, Neymar

The first player to make this list during his teenage years. At just 19 while playing for Santos, the Brazilian superstar finished 10th in the voting. Messi won the award for the third consecutive year.

Neymar with Santos in 2011

2012 | Winner, Neymar

Another one for the current Paris Saint-Germain forward. Neymar was just 20 in 2012 and finished a respectable 13th. Messi was crowned the actual winner once again.

2013 | Winner, Neymar

We have our first three-time winner of the 23 or under Ballon d'Or! This time around, Neymar finished fifth in the voting, while Ronaldo brought an end to Messi's dominance.

2014 | Winner, Neymar

Okay, this is getting silly now. Four in a row for Neymar and another overall triumph for Ronaldo.

Neymar with Brazil in 2014

2015 | Winner, Neymar

Yep, him again. After helping guide Barcelona to their second treble in six years, the Brazilian finished third at the Ballon d'Or ceremony. Messi, of course, was crowned the winner.

2016 | Winner, Paul Pogba

Pogba a Ballon d'Or winner? You better hypothetically believe it! After a brilliant 2015/16 season with Juventus, the Frenchman finished joint 14th in the voting. Ronaldo won the award for the fourth time.

2017 | Winner, Kylian Mbappe

The Frenchman emulated his current teammate Neymar in 2017, finishing in the Ballon d'Or top 10 at the age of just 19. Mbappe secured seventh place, while Ronaldo finished first yet again.

Mbappe with PSG

2018 | Winner, Kylian Mbappe

It was never going to be anyone else, was it? Luka Modric brought an end to Messi and Ronaldo's dominance in 2018, while Mbappe finished fourth, ahead of Messi.

2019 | Winner, Kylian Mbappe

Mbappe had to make do with a sixth-place finish last year as Messi just pipped Virgil van Dijk to top spot.

Were the 2020 Ballon d'Or actually on, Mbappe would almost certainly finish top once again of players aged 23 or under. How is he still only 21?

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