Taking into account the European betting market following Liverpool’s win over Chelsea in the Super Cup, FOX Sports Asia looks at the top 5 contenders for the Ballon d’Or as per the odds.
#5 Sadio Mane – 33/1
Sadio Mane completes the top five at 33/1, also being the third Liverpool player in the list. Like Alisson and Van Dijk, the European Cup in Madrid was the pinnacle of Mane’s season. He also guided Senegal to the finals of the African Cup of Nations where a Riyad Mahrez inspired Algeria beat them to the trophy.
While the case of the candidates in front of him might scupper his chances, Mane, like Alisson could spring an unlikely surprise.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo – 20/1
Talk of the Ballon d’Or and Cristiano Ronaldo’s mention is never too far away.
The Portugal international has had yet another fantastic season with the Nations League in May proving to be the icing on top of the league that he claimed with Juventus. He was also crowned the Seria A’s best player and despite a lower than normal goal return in terms of his lofty standards.
And Ronaldo could well make it number 6 this time around.
#3 Alisson Becker – 16/1
Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson comes in third with 16/1 odds.
The keeper is fresh off the back of Copa America success with Brazil and European glory with Liverpool – playing a huge part in both. Amazingly, he is yet to lose a single game in Brazilian colours!
Collective glory and individual performances – he has both in plenty and one wouldn’t be entirely surprised if he breaks the mould and claims the trophy this time, however unlikely it may seem.
#2 Lionel Messi – 3/1
Second in the running for the 2019 Ballon d’Or is Barcelona captain and club legend Lionel Messi – at 3/1. So highly is Messi rated by his peers that Van Dijk himself vouched for him earlier this year ahead of their encounter in the Champions League.
In fact, it is a testament to Messi’s quality that he still stands the second favourite to win the gong despite winning only the league with Barcelona – Liverpool knocked them out of Europe while Valencia claimed the Copa Del Rey with a surprise victory in the finals. His international duck continued too, as Brazil won the Copa America and if Messi manages to make it 6 this time around – it will be solely down to his quality.
#1 Virgil Van Dijk – 8/13
If Virgil van Dijk wasn’t already the clear-cut favourite for the coveted trophy, he certainly is following Liverpool’s shootout victory over Chelsea that saw him claim the UEFA Super Cup.
Van Dijk’s superb season needs no introduction – the Champions League win against Tottenham in June was preceded by an engaging title race against Manchester City where his team finished second. Another heartbreak lay in store for the Dutchman as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal won the UEFA Nations League later that summer – defeating the Oranje in the finals but even in defeat, Van Dijk came through with his reputation only further enhanced.
If the odds really are to be believed, he might very well be the first defender in 13 years to win the Ballon d’Or crown.