The 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award, given to the world’s best footballer in the last calendar year, is out.
We have 7 Premier League names featuring among the elite. There two from Chelsea (Eden Hazard and N’GoloKante), two from Liverpool (Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane) and one each from Spurs (Harry Kane), Man City (Kevin de Bruyne) and Man United (David De Gea).
None of these players though, are expected to be standing on the podium when the final awards are announced. The last time someone other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi won the gong was back in 2007, when Kaka emerged victorious following a successful season with AC Milan. In 2008, when Ronaldo won it, he was a Manchester United player. Since then though, the award has dominated by La Liga.
This year, it is expected to be the same. Real Madrid won their second successive Champions League trophy along with the La Liga. Portugal, quite incredibly won Euro 2016, led from the front from their captain Ronaldo. All this points to the 32 year-old picking up the award for the 5th time, taking him level with Messi on the all-time list. The Argentine, on the other hand, is expected to be 2nd with Neymar possibly coming in at 3rd. To be honest, the number 3 spot has hardly mattered over the last decade. The bronze medalists have included Fernando Torres, Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Manuel Neuer and Antione Griezmann. The top 2 has never been in doubt.
Can a Premier League player go the distance?
It’s hard to see a Premier League player making a legitimate case for the award without his side doing well in the Champions League. That has been the major problem in the last few years, with English teams performing so poorly at the biggest stage of them all.
Things have looked slightly better this year, with 5 teams qualifying and all but Liverpool winning both their opening games. The Premier League needs to have regular participants in the business end of the competition, and also some winners.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard has been threatening for years to burst out as one of the world’s best and on his day, the Belgian well and truly is. However, he needs to score goals on a much more regular basis than he does now and he needs to do it against the big teams in Europe. If he can take the Blues to the semi-finals or further in the competition, there is hardly any doubt that he will be in the reckoning to challenge Messi and Ronaldo. His performance against Atletico Madrid on Matchday 2 was absolutely incredible. He may not have scored a goal, but he was a constant thorn in the Spaniards’ backline and was a big reason for Chelsea completely dominating their opponents in their own backyard.
Another candidate would obviously be Harry Kane. At just 24, he has emerged as one of the best strikers in Europe. With 5 goals in 2 games in the Champions League thus far, he is also proving he can cut it against the best of the best. It certainly looks unlikely that Spurs will win either the Premier League or the Champions League in the near future. If Kane continues to perform at his current level though, he will break into the top 10 before long, and will also attract a big-money move to the bigger club. If he chooses his next destination to be in England, and can find Champions League success there, there is nothing to suggest that he couldn’t become the best player in the world.
The rest of the faces from the English league though, will most likely keep changing over the years. The biggest hopes are on Hazard and Kane, if they can one, take their clubs to bigger heights continent ally and two, resist a move to a foreign league if the Real Madrid’s and Barcelona’s come calling.
The content is provided by Box Office Events in UK.