The Ballon d’Or awards night takes place next month and the bookmakers have it a two-horse race once again, but one big name is missing!

Every year, the weekly French magazine France Football holds the Ballon d’Or awards. Here the best player in the world is voted for and the player with the most votes is the winner. The votes come from a journalist, national team men’s manager and captain from each nation.

The award was first given out in 1956 and since then no one has won it more times than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Both of these fantastic players have won it five times each, all of which came in the last 11 years!

Last years winner Luka Modric is nowhere near winning it this year. Many questioned whether he deserved to last year, but he did win the Champions League and get to the World Cup final.

This year awards take place on December 2nd, and it seems to be more of a two-horse race. The bookmakers favourite is Virgil Van Dijk, with no other than Lionel Messi close behind.

Ballon d’Or odds (PaddyPower) :

Virgil Van Dijk – 1/2

The Liverpool centre-half has been instrumental in them becoming one of the best teams in the world. A couple of seasons ago, Liverpool defence was a laughing stock. Now it is the best in the Premier League. They kept the most amount of clean sheets last season which saw them finish just one point off the top.

Van Dijk wasn’t dribbled past once last season which is an unbelievable stat. He helped guide Liverpool to a Champion League win and also won the PFA Player Of The Year award. On top of this, he got to the final of the Nations League with The Netherlands.

This season Liverpool find themselves top of the table by eight points. Even though all this isn’t down to the big Dutchman, you can guarantee they wouldn’t be eight points ahead had he not been there.

All in all, it was a fantastic 2019 for Van Dijk and if he won it, he would be the first defender to since Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.

Lionel Messi – 7/4

The five-time winner is one of the favourites for the award again. He had a fantastic 2018/19 campaign scoring 56 goals and getting 21 assists. He has carried this form into the new season with nine goals and five assists in just 11 games. Barcelona are currently sitting top of La Liga, trying to retain the title that Messi played a huge part in winning last season.

Last season his side were beaten in one of the most dramatic Champions League semi-finals ever. His side let a 3-0 first-leg win slip to lose 4-3. However, Messi played a big part in the 3-0 win scoring twice, one of them being a 25-yard freekick into the top corner.

Messi also added his 6th European Golden Shoe to his trophy cabinet this year, he’ll be hoping to make it six Ballon d’Or’s next month.

It’s going to be a close call as to who wins the Ballon d’Or, but it is most likely to be one of these two worthy winners.

Other nominations

Cristiano Ronaldo (12/1) – The man who shares the record with Messi is further away than he’d like. He got 28 goals and 10 assists last season with only six goals and two assists this season. Fairly quiet for him but there’s a reason he’s still argued as the best player in the world.

Sadio Mane (50/1) – Arguably more important in the Liverpool team than Salah is, Mane has had a brilliant year. He has scored some very important goals for his side and is drawing in praise from all around the footballing world.

Raheem Sterling (66/1) – Sterling seems to now be really coming of age in this Man City side. As bit as important as any other player in Pep’s team and will definitely be up there for this award in the years to come.

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