Unfortunately, we are not too far from the twilight years of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s careers, and football will be back to normal where records will not fall week after week. The two undisputed best players in the world have had a monopoly on the Balon D’or for almost a decade with the last winner other than these two being Kaka in 2008. The Balon D’or is awarded to the best player in the calendar year, however, previous years has shown competitions won is taken into account as well so I will be doing the same here.
Who will win the award next after these two start to show a decline in their ability? Here are my top 10 candidates for future Balon D’or wins.
10, Dele Alli
Somehow Alli has improved on his breakthrough year at Spurs this year scoring 22 goals from midfield in all competitions. If Alli continues to improve he has a massive chance of winning the Balon D’or at some point in his career. However, I think a Balon D’or win is a few years away for the English man at this point. At just 21 years old however, the sky is the limit for Dele Alli
9, Romelu Lukaku
It seems like every other week you see Lukaku’s goalscoring record at his age compared to some of the greatest strikers ever. There is good reason for it, turning 24 only last week Lukaku has already scored 67 Premier League goals and looks on course to win his first golden boot award this year. With a huge money move in the summer looking increasingly likely if Lukaku keeps up these sort of performances at a big club it won’t be long until he wins some individual accolades.
8, Harry Kane
Just edging out Romelu Lukaku is Harry Kane. Without a doubt one of the best English finishers of the ball I have ever seen. Kane seems to add more to his game season in season out. Scoring a staggering 71 goals in only 111 Premier League appearances, Kane can score any type of goal. Proving to be more than just a poacher with sublime goals such as this beauty against Arsenal. Aged only 23 Kane will go on to break all sorts of records and potentially be the first English Balon D’or winner since Michael Owen.
7, Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale was 2 games away from stealing the Balon D’or from Cristiano Ronaldo last year. If he had led Wales to winning the Euros he would’ve won the award I think. Injuries have not been on Bales side in the past couple of years, however, managing to make only 42 league appearances in the past two seasons but when he does play he is unreal, last season scoring 19 in the league in only 23 matches. If he can perform similar heroics at another international tournament and stay fit and continue his good form for Real Madrid he may win a Balon D’or
6, Antoine Griezmann
Last years 3rd placed player Griezmann is a similar story to Bale in that if he would have overcome both of Ronaldo’s teams in the Champions League and European Championship finals he probably would have won the award. Leaving the Euros with the Golden boot award and a runner-up medal should inspire Griezmann to put on another similar performance at the next World Cup and if he does and France win the tournament he will definitely be knocking on the door of the top 3 again.
5, Kevin De Bruyne
With Pep Guardiola at the helm and a seemingly unlimited transfer budget it is only a matter of time before Manchester City win a Champions League. When they do one thing is for certain, Kevin De Bruyne will be an integral part of the team. De Bruyne has been one of the Premier Leagues best players for the past two seasons and aged 25 he still has some years ahead of him. Alongside his potential future club success is international success, with one of his Belgium teammates already featuring on this list in Romelu Lukaku and potentially another one to come De Bruyne’s World Cup hopes must be quite high. There is a reason why I put Belgium number one in this blog post. And it is because of players like Kevin De Bruyne
4, Gianluigi Buffon
A player different to all the other players on this list Gianluigi Buffon is on this list because he is in with a shout of winning the Balon D’or this season. Buffon is a Champions League trophy away from winning the treble and it would be his first ever Champions League title. Buffon could get the nod as a tribute to his amazing career. Having never won the Balon D’or and the return to the old voting format where only journalists vote Buffon could be a surprise winner this year,
3, Paolo Dybala
A player who is able to create as well as he scores Paolo Dybala is one of the main reasons why Juventus are lining up for a Champions League final in a few weeks time. Dybala may not have had his best goalscoring seasons but if you have watched him play you will know how good he is. He will be back to his goalscoring ways in no time and he is one of the most talented young players in the world aged just 23. Dybala will be spearheading Juventus’ attack for years to come and hasan excellent chance of winning a Balon D’or one day
2, Eden Hazard
I really don’t think people realise how good Eden Hazard actually is. I am certain that if “Hockey assists” were recorded in football Hazard would be top of the charts every year. Hazard is involved in almost every Chelsea goal and when he is at his best he is unplayable. As much of a goalscoring threat as he is a creator Hazard has it all in his game and if he keeps it up he will have a great chance to win a Balon D’or one day.
The only player on this list that I can say with absolute certainty will win a Balon D’or one day is Neymar. In my opinion the 3rd best player in the world currently behind Messi and Ronaldo. When their decline begins the spotlight is his to step into. Just look at his goalscoring record for Brazil 52 in 77. He is 25 years old and has already scored more international goals than the likes of Rivaldo and Bebeto. Neymar is such an incredible player and once he is allowed to be the talisman he is for Brazil for Barcelona don’t be surprised if he begins to put up numbers similar to Lionel Messi.