France Football released the final list of 30 nominees for the prestigious Ballon d’Or award last week and ever since, current and former footballers and coaches have been voicing their opinions on who according to them should be presented with the award.
We, at FOX Sports Asia, have compiled a list of five Ballon d’Or nominees and their predictions.
Ivan Rakitic – Lionel Messi
Rakitic, who had a stellar last season with Barcelona and then played a significant part in Croatia’s run to the final of the World Cup, believes Lionel Messi should be given the prestigious award. Not long ago, he had predicted that his fellow Croatian midfielder Luka Modric would win the award.
However, after a superlative performance from Messi against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, Rakitic flipped his Ballon d’Or support back to Messi.
“With all respect to other players who have won it [Ballon d’Or], we know there is a player who is different to the others and that is Leo Messi,” Rakitic said post-game.
“Sometimes there are circumstances like Luka Modric doing an outstanding season and maybe people want to change a bit. But, with all respect, Luka and the others know there is a player who is different to the others, and that is Leo Messi.”
Isco – Luka Modric
The Spanish midfielder is one of the many footballers currently who firmly believe that this is Luka Modric‘s year. Isco’s Real Madrid teammate, on top of helping Los Blancos to their third Champions League title on the trot, won the World Cup Golden Ball, UEFA Best Player of the year and was named the Best FIFA Men’s player.
“We already know what Modric’s like, he’s a great player and he gives us a lot in each game. Hopefully, we can all be at his level. I also think he deserves the Ballon d’Or for being a unique player for us and Croatia.”
Sergio Ramos – Luka Modric
Another Ballon d’Or nominee, Sergio Ramos made his feelings about the potential Ballon d’Or winner public soon after the UEFA Awards. The Real Madrid defender posted a picture with Luka Modric on Instagram with the message, “Now, for the Ballon d’Or”.
The Croatian is firm favourite to complete a clean sweep of individual awards this year and Ramos is just another name in the ever-growing list of Modric’s admirers.
Neymar – Ronaldo, Messi and Mbappe
Neymar did not pick one but three players he believes will make it to the final three nominees. Former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and PSG teammate Kylian Mbappe were the three players Neymar predicted to make the final cut.
“I would say, Ronaldo, Messi and Mbappe.”
Why doesn’t this pic of Neymar and Mbappe go viral?
It doesn’t support the agenda? pic.twitter.com/ajYaoZe5RH
— MeldΦ ³³°₁₃ (@Meldo_10) October 8, 2018
There have been quite a few reports doing the rounds which say that the Brazilian is not happy playing second fiddle to Mbappe, however, the duo’s on-field camaraderie paint a completely different story.
Eden Hazard – Luka Modric
Now onto our last nominee in the list, Eden Hazard. The Chelsea winger’s game has gone up a notch or two this season and many, in and outside the footballing circles, believe him to be the best player in Europe currently. However, Hazard was clear in his statement that he doesn’t think he’ll win the Ballon d’Or and in his opinion, “Modric deserves it”.
“I don’t think I’m going to win [the Ballon d’Or]. In my opinion, Modric deserves it. There are three to four players. I could say [Madrid and France defender Raphael] Varane because he won a lot too. I could deserve it too, let’s not lie.
“But seriously, I think that Modric will win it. It is going to be a reward for his wonderful season in the Champions League and the final of the World Cup.”
— All Rounder (@allrounderrrr) July 16, 2018