FIFA Ballon D'Or: Predicting the Next 10 Winners
The FIFA Ballon d'Or has become an interesting beast.
Complaints have emerged in recent years that the award has become little more than a popularity contest, especially since the merging of the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or into one entity in 2009.
In reality, it is more than that, though at times it is a little unclear as to what the prize represents.
We know it is given to the best player in the world over the previous 12 months, but that could mean different things to different people.
Do the judges, who are the captains and coaches of the 209 FIFA member associations and a selected group of media, vote for the player they think has played the best football for the past year?
Or do they elect the man who has had the biggest influence on his team winning trophies? Should club or international football be given more credence? Should it just be awarded to the player who is currently the best at football?
No doubt each individual judge votes according to whichever factor or factors he or she considers most important, and in the final washup, that probably ensures that the player who comes out on top is usually the deserved winner.
Taking into consideration the combination of elements that determine who wins the Ballon d'Or—team trophies, personal achievement, profile and pure ability—here is a prediction of who will take home the award year by year for the next decade.
|2013: Frank Ribery||Bayern Munich's resounding success in the Bundesliga and Champions League, and especially their annihilation of Barcelona in the CL semi-finals, means their star man, Ribery, edges Messi for the gong.|
|2014: Lionel Messi||Despite a dramatic 4-3 loss to Brazil in the World Cup final, Messi's nine goals in the tournament and dominant performance at club level earn him top honors.|
|2015: Marek Hamsik||Napoli claim the Scudetto and make the Champions League final on the back of a series of breathtaking displays from their attacking hub.|
|2016: Mario Balotelli||It all comes together in 2016 for the powerful striker, who had previously only intermittently delivered on his talent. He leads Italy to the Euro 2016 title while looking unstoppable for Milan.|
|2017: Lionel Messi||The Argentine shrugs off the injury woes which hobbled him in previous seasons to lead Barcelona to the treble, and he cruises to his sixth Ballon d'Or.|
|2018: Lionel Messi||The veteran pulls the strings from his new playmaking role to guide Argentina to their third World Cup.|
|2019: Neymar||With Messi struggling to adjust to life at Lazio, Neymar hits top form at Barcelona.|
|2020: Mario Gotze||An astonishingly good German side takes the Euro '20 competition by storm, with Gotze named player of the tournament.|
|2021: Neymar||The Brazilian is hailed as the supreme footballer on the planet. Could he be the greatest of all time?|
|2022: Daniel De Silva||Credited with helping restore Liverpool to their former glory since signing with them back in '18, Aussie De Silva becomes the first player from the Asian confederation to win the Ballon d'Or.|
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