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Ballon D'Or

Who will win Ballon d'Or 2020? The favourites, outsiders & underdogs

9:39 PM SGT 9/12/19
Lionel Messi, Ballon d'Or
From Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo and beyond, Goal brings you the contenders to win the next award for the world's best player

Following Lionel Messi's record-breaking Ballon d'Or win in December 2019, thoughts are already turning to the 2020 edition as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Virgil van Dijk and Kylian Mbappe set their sights on the prestigious award.

Barcelona icon Messi became the first player in history to win six Ballons d'Or, the key man again as Barcelona won La Liga.

Van Dijk missed out despite bringing the Champions League back to Anfield and mounting a blistering Premier League title push, while Juventus' Ronaldo pipped Van Dijk's team-mates Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah into third after winning Serie A and the UEFA Nations League.

The award, which recognises the best player in the world in men's football, has been running since 1956. Presented by France Football, a shortlist of 30 players from all over the world is voted for by journalists, international coaches and captains.

So who are the favourites to win the 2020 Ballon d'Or and who will win the best footballer of 2020 award? Goal takes a look at the contenders for the biggest individual award in the football calendar.

Favourites to win the 2020 Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi presented his sixth Ballon d'Or trophy to Barcelona's Camp Nou in his first home game after winning the record-breaking award, and promptly scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Mallorca.

Pep Guardiola once said the favourite for the Champions League in any given season was whichever team had Messi in it, and there is a similar sort of logic with the Ballon d'Or. As long as Messi plays like Messi, he will start as the favourite.

Barcelona are still wholly dependent on him in La Liga and the Champions League, while 2020 also sees Argentina co-hosting the Copa America. Lift an international title at long last, and it will be difficult to prize the trophy off his hands.

Cristiano Ronaldo has already done that, of course, and his enduring popularity with journalists, coaches and players means he surely be in the conversation even if his largely average form so far in 2019-20 continues. He is now one award behind Messi in the all-time winners' list, a fact sure to provide him with extra personal motivation.

In 2019, the final choice was essentially one between Messi and Virgil van Dijk, who confirmed his status as the world's most formidable defender in another stellar season at Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp's side are looking good for the Premier League title, and it would take a brave person to rule them out of winning the Champions League - or the World Club Cup, the FA Cup or Carabao Cup, for that matter.

Add in the Netherlands' exciting squad going into Euro 2020, and Van Dijk has a great chance.

Ballon d'Or 2020 outsiders

Liverpool had four players inside the top ten in 2019, and their incredible form so far in 2019-20 means that sort of return could well be repeated.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's weekly brilliance has continued, while the 2020 Africa Cup of Nations could be important to their chances. Riyad Mahrez' surprising inclusion in 2019's top 10, given his less eye-catching form for Manchester City, proves the AFCON can have a major impact on voting.

Paris Saint-Germain team-mates Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will be expected to spearhead the Ligue 1 winners' Champions League push once again. If the pair can stay fit and focused, their squad finally looks balanced enough to mount a real challenge.

Mbappe's overwhelming popularity with pretty much everybody - note Zinedine Zidane's professing his love for the PSG star - means he will be in with a good chance of winning any individual award.

Neymar's Brazil and Mbappe's France will likely start the summer as favourites for the Copa America and Euro 2020 respectively, though a failure to deliver on the international front could be fatal to their chances.

The glitz and glamour of Real Madrid means a high-performing star at the Santiago Bernabeu will always have a chance, but Eden Hazard needs to kick on soon if he is to work his way into the reckoning.

Madrid bought him from Chelsea as a potential Ballon d'Or-winning player. That is his level, and it has begun to show as he recovers from early-season injury troubles, but his goal and assist output has to reflect that if he is to be in with a shot.

Ballon d'Or 2020 underdogs

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski has started the Bundesliga in record-breaking goalscoring form. Bayern's dominance of German football places him at a disadvantage - winning the Bundesliga is the norm for them however well he plays, and if they don't win it the season is a failure.

But Gerd Muller's all-time Bundesliga record of 40 goals in a season is a prospect going into the new year - break that, and it will give people reason to consider him. Yet, in a year with a summer of international tournaments, he would likely have to do something special with Poland as well to stand a chance.

Raheem Sterling's consistent excellence has seen him brought into the Ballon d'Or conversation in recent years, but Manchester City are wobbling and the Premier League already looks beyond their grasp.

A stellar Euro 2020 with England would put him back in the bracket, while the Euros and the Champions League also look the best bet for City team-mates Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson finished 2019's voting with less than 10 per cent of the votes Messi received, and the last keeper to lift the award was Lev Yashin in 1963. If any goalkeeper competes for the award in 2020, Barca and Germany's Marc-Andre ter Stegen is currently the man most likely to do so.

Atletico Madrid and Portugal starlet Joao Felix will be hoping to make the final shortlist again after winning the 2019 Golden Boy award. Elsewhere in La Liga, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann will be hoping to make strong impressions in Barcelona's attack all season long.

Jamie Vardy is back to his blistering best for Leicester City and a title tilt built on his goalscoring exploits will throw him into contention, but his retirement from international football means he won't be at Euro 2020 with England.

Fellow youngsters like Jadon SanchoFrenkie de Jong and Trent Alexander-Arnold will also be aiming to improve on this year's showings. The future may be theirs, but it would take something truly extraordinary for one of them to lift the title this time around.