Why will we at all times discover ourselves speaking about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo? Effectively sure, they’re the 2 biggest footballers on Earth in the intervening time – and maybe of all time. They do warrant the ludicrous quantity of consideration that each of them achieve, however is not it simply getting barely boring?
What in the event that they did not exist…ever? Think about what the world would appear like. We cannot go so far as claiming that the planet could be run by dolphins however one thing related would not be an excessive amount of of a stretch.
One factor we are able to name is how the distinguished Ballon d’Or award would’ve labored out, and it makes for one hell of an attention-grabbing learn…
10. 2008: Fernando Torres
It is onerous to recollect all the way in which again to not solely when Fernando Torres was good, however when he was world class. His debut season for Liverpool within the 2007/08 marketing campaign was one thing else.
Earlier than the £50m deadline day transfer that fairly truthfully ruined his profession, the Spaniard was totally different gravy.
In his first time period at Anfield, he turned the Premier League’s highest scoring overseas participant of their debut season with 24 targets – another than Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy in his first 12 months. He additionally completed joint second place for the league’s golden boot that season, and continued his tremendous type into the remainder of 2008, choosing up the European Championship with Spain alongside the way in which.
Think about Fernando Torres having received the Ballon d’Or.
9. 2009: Xavi
If Xavi has £1 for each help he made within the 2008/09 season, he’d have earned himself £29, or a duplicate of Soccer Supervisor 2009 – the place the sport first launched 3D pitches. Thrilling.
The purpose right here is that Xavi was actually good at serving to individuals rating targets in 2009. Together with the Spanish treble (and Champions League participant of the 12 months award), Xavi assisted 4 targets in Barcelona’s unbelievable 6-2 El Clasico victory over Actual Madrid in 2009.
Xavi ought to have received the Ballon d’Or. It is a crying disgrace that he did not.
eight. 2010: Andres Iniesta
The one factor extra tragic than Iniesta’s failure to win the Ballon d’Or at the least as soon as in his profession is his hairline; or at the least, was. The poor fella misplaced it years in the past.
Nonetheless, again in 2010, equally to how he was desperately holding on to his fleeting darkish hair, Iniesta was nonetheless clutching at the concept that he would at some point win the coveted particular person award.
His greatest declare to the title got here in 2010, after scoring the World Cup successful purpose and dedicating it to his late pal Daniel Jarque. In a midfield duo with Xavi, Iniesta was changing into the hub of the Barcelona squad together with his dribbling and passing capacity, and if it wasn’t for Barca teammate Messi, he’d have gotten his fingers on the Ballon d’Or.
7. 2011: Xavi
Xavi’s affect on the world stage can by no means be put into disrepute. A high three end within the Ballon d’Or proceedings three years in a row exhibits precisely that.
The Spaniard put in a high notch show throughout Barcelona’s Champions League remaining towards Manchester United that 12 months, and began the 2011/12 season nicely on his approach to finishing his highest ever targets tally in a season.
A real legend of the sport. It is also price mentioning that it was 2011 by which Xavi turned Barca’s highest ever capped participant, so honest play for that.
6. 2012: Andres Iniesta
Right here returns Iniesta – this time with even much less hair than he had two years prior.
It seems that if Messi and Ronaldo did not exist, the Barcelona duo in Iniesta and Xavi would’ve created their very own little domination over the area of 4 years. Fairly rightly too, with each of them taking part in an unlimited function in Pep Guardiola’s unbelievable Barcelona facet.
5. 2013: Franck Ribery
What a season Franck Ribery had within the construct as much as the 2013 Ballon d’Or.
His involvement in 34 targets that time period was accompanied by no fewer than 4 trophies; finishing the quadruple with the Bundesliga, Champions League, German Tremendous Cup and DFB-Pokal.
Ribery’s since come out and blamed the French media for him failing to win the award – and with eventual winner Ronaldo solely having a Spanish Tremendous Cup to his title, it is simple to see why.
four. 2014: Manuel Neuer
Ribery’s Bayern Munich teammate Manuel Neuer would’ve been the subsequent to assert the trophy had it not been for Messi or Ronaldo.
The German spent 2014 stamping his title down as the very best goalkeeper on the planet, and would’ve been the primary man between the sticks to have received the Ballon d’Or since Lev Yashin in 1963.
Regardless of successful the DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga in 2014, the German primary was greatest recognised for serving to his nation raise the World Cup trophy, a feat that landed him third place within the Ballon d’Or runnings that 12 months.
three. 2015: Neymar
This really was an distinctive season for Barcelona; particularly for Neymar, who helped type the lethal trio of Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez (MSN).
Greater than adequately taking part in his half in abundance, Neymar spent 2015 asserting himself on the European stage, saying his brilliance on the ball to the whole world and started to make a reputation for himself that can resonate for a very long time to come back.
It is broadly anticipated that Neymar will take over from the Messi and Ronaldo reign of terror, and these previous few years have proven why.
2. 2016: Antoine Griezmann
Although Griezmann was a success at Actual Sociedad, he by no means actually staked his declare for world class capacity till he made the change to Atletico Madrid, handing over performances of the best calibre on the Vicente Calderon earlier than the stadium was retired.
Filling Diego Costa’s unbelievable goalscoring footwear was by no means going to be straightforward, however the Frenchman managed it while nonetheless thought of a teen, and Griezmann has a brilliant future forward of him.
1. 2017: Neymar
You might have heard of a £200m transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain over the summer time. It did not get a lot protection, but it surely was this man once more making the change and changing into the world’s costliest participant.
Although experiences are claiming that Neymar is struggling to adapt to life in France after falling out with Edinson Cavani, the Brazilian has been on hearth.
2017 noticed Neymar bag 17 targets and 12 assists for his new membership alone. All of that in 4 months exhibits precisely why Neymar would’ve claimed his second Ballon d’Or had Messi and Ronaldo not been round to nick it.
So there you’ve got it. How various things could be.
Fernando Torres lastly being recognised for his brilliance as soon as upon a time, and 4 years of domination from Barcelona duo Iniesta and Xavi – the competitors would nonetheless truly seem to be a contest to all footballers.