5 footballers who would have won Ballon d'Or recently if Ronaldo or Messi were not around
Numerous top footballers in the world vie for the ultimate prize in profession football, which happens to be the Ballon d'Or. While Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have mostly dominated with the award, of late, a notable few deserve it at least once in their illustrious career.
When it comes to any footballer in the world, the one notable thing that everyone eyes for is the ultimate recognition. And, that honour can only be attained through the prestigious Ballon d'Or award.
Currently, there are a couple of footballers, namely Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have dominated the same. Both have won it on six and five occasions, respectively.
However, have you ever wondered who would have won the Ballon d'Or had Ronaldo and Messi not been around? We take a look at five such footballers who could have won the same recently.
The German goalkeeper yet continues to be the best globally, while his stint as the number one began from the 2012-13 season. During the 2013-14 season, he was in top form, having won the FIFA World Cup and the Golden Glove. However, when it came to Ballon d'Or, he missed it to Ronaldo, as the latter won by 37.66% of votes, while Neuer finished third with 15.72%.
The French striker was in sensational form during the 2015-16 season with Atletico Madrid. While he finished as the side's highest goal-scorer, he attained the same during the UEFA Euro 2016, besides being the 'Best Player'. However, as for the Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo dominated again with 745 votes, while Griezmann finished third with 198.
The Brazilan playmaker had his best season with Barcelona during the 2016-17 La Liga season. In 30 La Liga games, he scored on 27 instances, as it set the platform for his world-record transfer to French champion Paris Saint-Germain. However, when it came to Ballon d'Or, he missed it to Ronaldo once again, who topped it with 946 votes, while Neymar finished third with 361.
Incidentally, he is the only footballer on the list to have broken the Ronaldo and Messi curse. The striker from Croatia helped Real Madrid lift the UEFA Champions League, while his prolific gameplay also led his nation to the final of the 2018 World Cup, only to lose out to France. He won the Ballon d'Or with 753 votes, followed by Ronaldo (476) and Griezmann (414).
Virgil van Dijk
The Dutch defender is having a glorious stint with reigning English champion Liverpool. Furthermore, during the 2018-19 season, his all-around display of footballing abilities allowed Liverpool to win the UCL for the sixth time. Nevertheless, it wasn't enough when it came to the Ballon d'Or, as Messi walked away with 686 votes, while van Dijk finished second with 679.