Eden Hazard on 2019 Ballon d'Or: 'I Would Give It to a Liverpool Player'

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IINovember 24, 2019

Real Madrid's Belgian forward Eden Hazard dribbles the ball during the Spanish league football match Real Madrid CF against Real Sociedad at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on November 23, 2019. (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU / AFP) (Photo by PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP via Getty Images)

Real Madrid forward Eden Hazard has said he thinks the 2019 Ballon d'Or should be awarded to a Liverpool player.

Hazard told Le Parisien (h/t Get French Football News) that Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah or defender Virgil van Dijk would all be deserving winners of the prestigious accolade.

"I would give it to a Liverpool player. Mane, Salah or Van Djik deserve it. If Sadio had won AFCON with Senegal, there would have been no debate. It would be beautiful if he won it. Or Momo [Salah], who is one of my friends. It would be a good thing for both African and English football."

Liverpool players dominate the 30-man Ballon d'Or shortlist for the 2019 award. The Reds have seven players, more than any other club, nominated for the Golden Ball:

UEFA Champions League @ChampionsLeague

@LFC πŸ† Liverpool's Ballon d'Or nominees (Part 2): πŸ”΄ Trent Alexander-Arnold πŸ”΄ Georginio Wijnaldum πŸ”΄ Sadio ManΓ© #UCL https://t.co/ghnivapxao

Jurgen Klopp's side have enjoyed a successful year and have established themselves as Europe's best team. They won the European Cup for a sixth time in May, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the final of the UEFA Champions League.

The Reds finished as runners-up in the Premier League in 2018-19, being pipped to the title by a point by Manchester City. However, they remain unbeaten in 2019-20 and currently top the table by eight points from Leicester City:

Premier League @premierleague

WWDDWDWDWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWDWWWW Liverpool are unbeaten in 30 #PL matches - only Arsenal (49 in Oct 2004) and Chelsea (40 in Oct 2005) have ever had longer runs without defeat https://t.co/FNEo9lQ6IR

One of the keys to their success has been Van Dijk. The Netherlands international is a commanding, authoritative presence at centre-back for club and country and was named as the early favourite for the award:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

Ballon d'Or odds on Ronaldo chopped today and further murmurs suggest he really could be in the conversation to challenge for it. Surely not! Van Dijk remains favourite

Team-mates Mane and Salah have also been in prolific form for the Reds, and the duo's speed and willingness to drive at defenders make Klopp's side a fearsome attacking unit.

Opta highlighted the duo's goalscoring form:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

16 - Sadio ManΓ© has scored 16 Premier League goals at home in 2019, at least three more than any other player. Riot. #LIVMCI https://t.co/vTIIugnWu2

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

52 - Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 52 goals in just 44 Premier League appearances at Anfield for Liverpool (38 goals, 14 assists). Phenomenal. #LIVMCI https://t.co/Y1lmpcJXSz

Van Dijk is seen as the Liverpool player most likely to capture the award but faces stiff competition from Barcelona captain Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on December 2.