The Ballon d’Or remains the most prestigious individual honour in football, presented to the player deemed to be the world’s best.
Real Madrid star Luka Modric broke the decade long Ronaldo-Messi stranglehold on the honour in 2018, but could another name be handed the award this year?
For those of you who spend time looking at betting sites, we’ve taken a look at the five favourites for the 2019 Ballon D’or…
Cristiano Ronaldo 25/1
At 34-years-old the Portuguese superstar remains amongst the world’s very finest talents, scoring 27 goals in all competitions in his debut season with Italian champions Juventus.
The five-times winner’s hopes were dealt a blow by Juventus’ Champions League quarter-final exit, though the Italian’s did win an eighth consecutive Serie A title.
Ronaldo hit a semi-final hat-trick as Portugal advanced to the Nations League final, and silverware with the national side could see his odds shorten on being awarded a record sixth Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo has not finished outside of the top three for the award since 2010 and a strong start to next season could see him in contention again.
Mohamed Salah 20/1
The Liverpool forward followed up a stunning first year at the club with another brilliant campaign, helping Jurgen Klopp’s side to Champions League success.
The Egyptian’s 22 goals saw him earn a second consecutive Premier League Golden Boot, shared with Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and teammate Sadio Mane.
Salah now heads to this summers African Cup of Nations with hosts Egypt the favourites to lift the trophy.
The 26-year-old represents his country’s best hope of success, and an impressive tournament on the international stage could be rewarded with the Ballon d’Or.
Sadio Mane 20/1
Like Salah, Liverpool teammate Mane played a vital role in the success of the Merseyside club this season.
The Senegalese forward netted a career-best 22 Premier League goals to earn a share of the Golden Boot, whilst also helping to fire Liverpool to a sixth European Cup.
Mane was nominated for the PFA Player of the Year before losing out to teammate Virgil van Dijk, and will have another chance of glory this summer at the African Cup of Nations.
Mane’s Senegal are amongst the front runners to lift the trophy in Egypt, with the Liverpool forward captaining the side. Senegal have never previously won the tournament, so a first success could boost Mane’s chances of individual honours.
Lionel Messi 6/5
The Barcelona superstar is the second favourite for the award as he bids to win an outright-record sixth trophy.
Messi enjoyed a superb season, scoring 36 La Liga goals in just 29 starts as Barcelona were crowned champions of Spain.
The Catalan side’s capitulation to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals was a blow, though few have enjoyed as good an individual season as Messi, who won the European Golden Shoe for the third consecutive season.
Having previously flirted with international retirement, Messi heads to this summer’s Copa America looking to finally win silverware with Argentina.
Having lost twice in the tournament’s final previously, as well as losing the 2014 World Cup final, Messi will be looking to banish the demons of past failures this summer.
Argentina are the second favourites to lift the trophy, behind Brazil, with Messi hoping to captain the side to glory.
Virgil Van Dijk 8/11
The Liverpool defender has emerged as the odds-on favourite to win the award after an imperious season for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Van Dijk was crowned as the PFA Player of the Year after marshalling a Liverpool backline with the league’s best defensive record, before playing a vital role in the club’s Champions League success.
The towering centre-back has captained the Netherlands to the final of the Nations League, as the Dutch look to win their first silverware since 1988.
Should Van Dijk be awarded the honour later this year, he will be the first defender to win the Ballon d’Or since Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
See Also: The all-time Brazilian Premier League XI
A plug for Frank Lampard to be the next #Chelsea boss and why they may defy all logic and win silverware next season even with a transfer ban. ?
— Football Faithful (@FootyFaithful_) June 7, 2019