There aren’t a lot of sure things in this world. Death and taxes are two, according to Ben Franklin. Ronaldo and Messi are two more, according to me.
For nearly a decade, it’s been a sure thing that one or the other would be named the best soccer player in the world. The pair was won every Ballon d’Or award since Kaka took the honor in 2007.
There are still four months left for players to make their case for the 2016 award, but Ronaldo and Messi are the clear frontrunners once again.
Ronaldo already has three trophies in his case and is poised to add a fourth. He had a mediocre Euro, by his standards, and had to leave the final due to injury, but he was still the best player on the winning team. He also piloted Real Madrid to another Champions League title, leading the competition with 16 goals. The voters look favorably on trophy-winners and Cristiano won the two biggest of the year.
Reigning champ and four-time winner Lio Messi led Barcelona to a La Liga title in 2016, but that won’t be enough. He was almost invisible in the team’s UCL exit to Atletico Madrid and he lost yet another Copa America final to Chile with the Argentine national team.
Griezmann might be the most deserving player in the world, but he won’t win because neither of his teams won a major trophy. He was the lynchpin in France’s run to the final of the 2016 Euro, leading the tournament with six goals and taking home the Player of the Tournament award. France lost the finals on home soil to Portugal, though, and Griezmann was one of the many on the team who played below their potential.
He was also outstanding with Atletico Madrid during the Champions League. He basically eliminated Bayern Munich and Barcelona by himself. But he missed a costly penalty in the final against Real and voters won’t let him forget it.
Luis Suarez (Barcelona and Uruguay): 7/1
Neymar (Barcelona and Brazil): 18/1
Gareth Bale (Real Madrid and Wales): 28/1
Dimitri Payet (West Ham and France): 33/1
Paul Pogba (Manchester United and France): 33/1
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain): 50/1
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich and Poland): 50/1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United and Sweden): 50/1
Arturo Vidal: (Bayern Munich and Chile) 60/1
David DeGea (Manchester United and Spain): 66/1
Photo Credit: RCuerda29 (Flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].
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