The fight for the Ballon d'Or jumps through the air

The elimination of Messi and Cristiano in the eighth of the Champions League leaves the dominators of the award very touched in the last decade. Who will be the heir?

The-fight-for-the-Ballon-d'Or-jumps-through-the-air

Stages, no matter how long and beautiful they are, always come to an end. Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi have dominated world football for more than a decade, starring in one of the most outstanding rivalries in the history of this sport and one that may never be seen again.

Not only at the club level, mainly with Real Madrid and Barcelona, they have lifted countless titles but they have been indisputably the kings of the Ballon d'Or. Messi with six and Ronaldo with five are the players who have received the France award the most times. Football. From 2008 to 2019, the last time it was delivered, there has only been one winner other than the Portuguese or the Argentine, Luka Modric in 2018 who broke a ten-year streak in a row by taking the Ballon d'Or for his merits in the Real Madrid, winning the Champions League, and the Croatian team, being runner-up in the World Cup.

The hit in the Champions League

The following year, Messi broke the tie and took his sixth award, reestablishing his reign. The pandemic made France Football decide not to give the Ballon d'Or in 2020, an award that had written the name of Robert Lewandowski, triple champion (later expanded to a sextet) with Bayern and top scorer in the Champions League and the Bundesliga. At least the Pole took The Best.

But this year, despite the fact that we are only in March, it seems that it will definitely mark the beginning of another era. For the first time since the 04-05 season, neither Leo Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will be in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, the most important club-level competition. The Argentine has been left out of the European top eight for the first time since 06-07, while the Portuguese was already left out last year at the hands of Olympique Lyon, the same executioner as in 09-10 in the remembered elimination of the Madrid by Pellegrini.

Without the two kings of the last decade in the Champions League quarter-finals, the Ballon d'Or is looking for a new heir, one who may take over from the other two and be the new dominator of Europe. We are still in March and the Eurocup and America's Cup are looming on the horizon, where a great performance with their country can catapult them to a new Ballon d'Or, but being already out of the Champions League, it is very difficult for them to increase their legend.

In search of a worthy heir

There are many stars who oppose being the new leaders of football, some have been on that list for many years waiting for Messi and Cristiano to run out of a bellows that seemed inexhaustible. Lewandowski the "spiritual winner" of the last edition appears first. The Pole with 23 goals is already the top scorer in the Bundesliga, ahead of Haaland, and Bayern is the leader despite feeling the encouragement of Leipzig very close. In the Champions League they beat Lazio 1-4, and they once again have the favorites. Raising the orejona again would make him the top candidate to win a trophy that for some they unfairly snatched from him in 2020.

The other two great heirs share a team and are located in the beautiful streets of Paris, Neymar and Mbappé. The former has been opposing for years and in fact emigrated to France to shine away from Messi's long shadow, but his physical problems and PSG's poor performances in the Champions League, until last year, have kept him from an award in which He has not been among the three finalists since 2017. Mbappé, together with Haaland, represents the new hope of football. At 22, he already shines on his own, like the hat-trick at Camp Nou, and is the top scorer (18) in Ligue 1 and second (six) in the Champions League. In the event that this year they do manage to finish the job and bring the long-awaited Champions League to Paris and are crowned again as champions in France, both would have many options to be the new golden balls. Even more so when France and Brazil start as favorites for the Eurocup and the America's Cup.

Other candidates with less strength may come from England. Manchester Ciy are having a record season having set a historic record in English football with 21 wins in a row and it seems that this may be the year that Pep's City show their potential in Europe. In that case it would not be unreasonable for a skyblue to take it even if the most prominent player is being someone with a lower profile like Gundogan.

Last but not least, Erling Haaland, the new football phenomenon, cannot be ruled out. His emergence is being historic, being the youngest player to reach 20 goals in the Champions League, 20 years and 231 days, four less than Cristiano and two less than Messi. In addition to doing it only in 14 games, another record number. But the difficulty of lifting a title with Borussia (sixth in the Bundesliga) and the fact of being out of the Eurocup makes it almost an impossible mission.

What is clear is that it is very likely that this year will experience a change of time and we may enter a new cycle that will mark football in the coming years. The Ballon d'Or is already looking for heir.



Photos from as.com
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