After a fantastic year for Liverpool, they are now seeing their players dominating the odds for the Ballon d'Or!
The Ballon d'Or is an award given out annually by French publication France Football. The first award given out was in 1956 and awarded to Blackpool's Stanley Matthews. In 2007 they changed the rules of the award to allow a player from any club in the world to win it, not just clubs in Europe.
The Ballon d'Or is awarded on a votes system. A shortlist of 30 players is produced and international journalists will vote for their top three players. Whoever ends up with the most votes in first place is the overall winner.
Liverpool had a fantastic season last year. They finished second by just a point with a huge 97 points. They then went on to win the Champions League for the sixth time, after losing in last years final. Liverpool played some fantastic football and their key players were Van Dijk, Salah, Mane and Alisson. As a result, these four are all in the top six for the odds on the 2019 Ballon d'Or winner on Paddy Power.
With Messi out of Copa America, Salah out of AFCON, Van Dijk Nations League runner-up and Ronaldo Nations League champion, who is now your favourite to win the Ballon d'Or? 🤔
— Goal (@goal) July 7, 2019
Virgil Van Dijk (8/11) – The PFA player of the year is now the favourite for the Ballon d'Or. For most of the year, Messi has been leading the way but Van Dijk took over after winning the Champions League. He had a brilliant year at Liverpool and was one of the main reasons they did so well. He got 19 clean sheets in the league, no one got more and also scored seven goals in all competitions. It looks like he may be the first defender to win it since Cannavaro in 2006!
Lionel Messi (13/8) – The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is just behind Van Dijk. He won the league this year with Barcelona and got the golden boot with 36 league goals in 34 games. Messi also won the Champions League golden boot and score 50 goals in all competitions. However, a poor Copa America and the fact he missed out of another chance to win his trophy with Argentina may mean he'll miss out on this award!
Alisson Becker (14/1) – The Brazilian keeper has had an unbelievable debut season at Liverpool. He won the Golden Glove in the Premier League, Champions League and even the Copa America as well as winning the last two tournaments overall. Alisson has been as influential at Liverpool this season as Van Dijk has and it wouldn't be a surprise if he was to be the first keeper to win it since Yashin in 1963.
Cristiano Ronaldo (16/1) – Ronaldo moved clubs this last season and many wondered if he would be able to still perform. This season he won the Serie A with Juventus and scored 21 goals in the process. He also won The Nations League with Portugal. This is probably the highest priced the five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been in his career since he joined Man United.
Sadio Mane (20/1) – This has been Mane's best season as a footballer to date. He was influential in Liverpool's progression through the Premier League and Champions League. When Salah was injured Mane stood up and became the main man. He finished as the joint top scorer in the league with 22 and is still in the AFCON. This could be a good bet with his odd's surely set to drop if he wins the competition with Senegal.
Mohammed Salah (33/1) – The last Liverpool player in the top six is Salah. The Egyptian has now had two world-class seasons at Liverpool finishing as the top-scorer in both of them. This season he may not have scored as many as his first but still scored some very vital goals. He converted the penalty in the first minute in the Champions League final and was consistent throughout the year.
The votes for the Ballon d'Or aren't done until towards November time. This means there are three months of the season left to influence peoples decisions! Could now be a good time to pick someone with slightly higher odds than expected?