Ballon d’Or 2019: Famous Players And Managers Pick Their Favourites

0
1171
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both have won five Ballon d'Or awards each.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony will once again take centre stage sometime in December to honour the best football player of this calendar year. Although the award function is months away, thoughts and predictions are already heating up after the European club season ended earlier this month with Liverpool lifting the Champions League trophy. 

This year’s Ballon d’Or race might be the most difficult to call as five-time winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have stiff competition from the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Bernardo Silva. 

Current Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Juventus for a staggering €112m last summer and went onto win the domestic double with the Italian club. Although he could not win his fourth consecutive Champions League title, the 33-year old ended the season lifting the inaugural UEFA Nations League trophy whilst also winning the Golden Boot in the tournament. 

Current Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo is not a heavy favourite for the award this year.

Lionel Messi will look to eclipse his Portuguese rival with another Ballon d’Or award in his trophy collection. The Barcelona man led his team to another La Liga title and won the European Golden Shoe as he scored 53 goals in all competitions. Virgil van Dijk had the season of his life with Liverpool as he won them the Champions League trophy. The Dutchman also secured the PFA Player of the Year over the likes of Eden Hazard and Bernardo Silva for his stellar performances in the Premier League. 

The Manchester City midfielder has also been mentioned in the running after he won Player of the Tournament in Portugal’s Nations League triumph. Bernardo Silva also lifted four domestic trophies at club level and was awarded the Etihad Stadium Player of the Season by the Blues. 

Certain famous personalities in the footballing world have given their predictions as to who they think will win the prestigious Ballon d’Or 2019 award come December. 

Jose Mourinho
Prediction: Virgil van Dijk

Former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has picked Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk as his Ballon d’Or 2019 winner. The Portuguese backed the 27-year old defender before the commencement of the UEFA Nations League but also suggested that winning the trophy could be significantly important. 

“I think Van Dijk, why not a defender?”, the Portuguese said on Russia Today. The Dutchman could be the first Ballon d’Or winner since Fabio Cannavaro in 2007. 

Mourinho, since getting sacked by Manchester United in December, has been doing punditry. The 56-year old manager has been linked with Newcastle and Chelsea as he looks to get back onto the sidelines. 

Sergio Aguero
Prediction: Lionel Messi

Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi are currently on Argentina duty at the Copa America.

Manchester City all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero reportedly said in an interview that the Ballon d’Or should be given to a Champions League finalist. However, the forward cleared the air in a tweet stating that his pick for the award is no one but his national teammate and best friend Lionel Messi.

Kaka
Prediction: Virgil van Dijk

Brazil legend and former Ballon d’Or winner Kaka backs Virgil van Dijk to take home the award. “Would I give the Ballon d’Or to Virgil van Dijk? I had some discussions talking about it with friends and with my brother and the name we chose is really his”, he told Sky Italia. 

He had a great season in the Premier League and won the Champions League playing in a crazy way. We’ll see what the judges will decide, but it’s time to reward a defender.”

Kylian Mbappe
Prediction: Lionel Messi

Kylian Mbappe was second behind Lionel Messi in the race for the European Golden Shoe following another brilliant season with Paris Saint-Germain. The French forward, in an awards ceremony, claimed the Argentine should win the award. 

Kylian Mbappe has picked Lionel Messi as his candidate for the Ballon d’Or 2019.

“He is number one. He has shown he was the best player this year. The year will take us up to December but I’m not worried about him, he is going to play until December”, the 20-year old said.

Michel Platini
Prediction: Lionel Messi

The former UEFA President and three-time Ballon d’Or winner chose Lionel Messi as his winning candidate. He also interestingly chose Cristiano Ronaldo as his second pick ahead of Liverpool’s heroes of last season.

Jamie Carragher
Prediction: Lionel Messi

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher gave a realistic answer when asked about his pick. Although he would desperately want Van Dijk to win, he tips Messi to eclipse the centre-back. 

“I saw he’s gone ahead of Messi in the betting. I’d be thinking Messi to be honest – very rarely you see a centre-back get that”, Carragher said. 

Ronald Koeman
Prediction: Virgil van Dijk

Ronald Koeman’s choice for the Ballon d’Or might not be the greatest surprise, given the fact that he manages Van Dijk on the international level. However, whilst the Netherlands manager suggests Messi is favourite for the award, he wants the defender to get the recognition he deserves. 

Ronald Koeman has backed his Netherlands star van Dijk to win the award.

“It’s about time the Ballon d’Or was given to a defender,” Koeman said. “Van Dijk deserves to win it. He [Messi] is the best player, but I also think that he also has to win tournaments with his team to be able to win awards for himself.”

Ryan Babel
Prediction: Virgil van Dijk

The Fulham forward backed his fellow Dutchman to claim the prize. “I think it is fair that he would at least be on the shortlist. We will see in the end if he wins it or not. I would be very happy for him (if he does)”, he said.

Rivaldo
Prediction: Lionel Messi

Another Ballon d’Or winner Rivaldo also backed Lionel Messi to win the award despite losing out on the Champions League.

“He has been scoring goals, giving assists and being the top scorer in La Liga for a long time and I think what he has been doing in the Champions League means his merits should be recognized”, he said.

Cesc Fabregas
Prediction: Lionel Messi

The Spanish midfielder picked his former Barcelona teammate as the Ballon d’Or 2019 winner, however, he also claimed the importance of winning the Champions League. 

Cesc Fabregas played alongside Lionel Messi in Barcelona.

“It is very difficult, it might depend on who won the Champions League. Normally, these trophies are appointed to people who win big things. I think Messi won it in 2010 when they only won the league so it is definitely doable”, he said.

“I think it is if it is all about who is the best, then Messi is the best. No doubt about it. I think Liverpool have had a fantastic season, though. Potentially one of their players could be on the podium, for sure”, Fabregas added.

Tim Cahill
Prediction: Cristiano Ronaldo

Australia and Everton great Tim Cahill went away from the obvious nominees and tipped Cristiano Ronaldo to win a historic sixth Ballon d’Or.

“The reason why I say Ronaldo, I know people won’t agree, is because of what he’s done in Juventus. He left Real Madrid, went there and had such a massive impact on another league. I’ve never seen another player do it at Man United, Madrid for so many years”, he said.

Virgil van Dijk
Prediction: Lionel Messi

Virgil van Dijk has picked Lionel Messi as his Ballon d’Or winner.

The Liverpool centre-back is a heavy favourite to land the award later this year, but his personal choice remains Lionel Messi. 

“I think Messi is the best player in the world. He should win the Ballon d’Or”, the Dutchman said after the Champions League final victory against Tottenham Hotspur. So I’m not thinking of that. But if I win, I’ll take it. Messi should win it though. He is the best in the world, whether he’s in the final or not.”

Cristiano Ronaldo
Prediction: None

The Juventus forward has not come out and given a name for this year’s potential Ballon d’Or winner. However, the reigning Golden Ball winner recently spoke of his own chances to snap up the award once again.

“I’ve won three competitions, I’ve been fine, as always. Throughout my career, there has not been a time when I have played badly and this year has not been different”, he said.

“In 16 years the numbers speak for themselves. What else can I do? Do I deserve the Golden Ball? I do not know. I leave that to you, who are the ones who evaluate my performance. I’m not going to value myself”, he added.