Why Virgil Van Dijk will not win the Ballon d’Or this year
With the annual footballing season having come to an official end, it’s that time of the year when football pundits, ex-legends, and novices—like me—will endlessly debate the rightful winner of the sport’s highest individual award, i.e. the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
Year after year, the editorial team of France Football shortlists 23 names for the prestigious “Golden Ball” award. It is givento an exemplary player “without distinction of championship or nationality…according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch.” However, between 2008 and 2017, the award shuffled solely between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi—although contenders like Harry Kane and Mohammed Salah definitely left a lasting impression on the minds of global footballing fans. In 2018, Croatian and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric broke the spell and was awarded the Ballon d’Or for his astute performance at both the national and club stages. Legends like Kaká, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldinho Gaucho, and Luís Figo have been previously felicitated with this award as well.