2018 Ballon d'Or

By Dylan Shackelford
Nov. 01, 2018

The 2018 Ballon d’Or award ceremony is just around the corner, and many people believe this is the toughest decision in years. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have combined to win the award for the last 10 years. Will this year give the fans a new “best player in the world” for the first time since Ricardo Kaka won the award in 2007? Here are my top five athletes that have a shot at dethroning the kings in December.

Sipa USA-USA TODAY Sports
Sipa USA-USA TODAY Sports
Sipa USA-USA TODAY SportsSipa USA-USA TODAY Sports

5. Kevin De Bruyne

“KDB” has proven to be one of the best midfielders in the world ever since joining Manchester City from Wolfsburg in 2015. De Bruyne topped the league with 16 assists last season, helping his club win the Premier League for the first time since the 2013-2014 season. In addition to his assists, he tapped in 8 goals for his side. He was also a huge part of Belgium’s 2018 World Cup run. He provided a goal and two assists on the way to Belgium’s best ever finish in the World Cup, beating England in the third-place game 2-0.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY SportsBrad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

4. Mohamed Salah

Everyone loves Mo Salah. After his historic 2017-18 season, scoring a Premier League record 32 goals, everyone seems to be hopping on the Liverpool bandwagon. Not only did he perform well in the Premier League, he also led Liverpool to the Champions League final, in which he was tragically injured due to a tackle by Sergio Ramos of Real Madrid, eventually leading to his side losing 3-1.

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY SportsWitters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

3. Antoine Griezmann

Griezmann led both his country and his club to glory in 2018. The French attacker provided four goals and two assists during his 2018 World Cup winning campaign. He also led his club, Atletico Madrid, to Europa League glory, winning player of the competition while scoring six goals and providing two assists in only seven games in the tournament. In the domestic league, he scored 19 goals and found his teammates often for nine assists.

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY SportsWitters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

2. Kylian Mbappe

This kid is something special. At just 19 years old, the Frenchman is already one of the best attackers in the world. Mbappe, like Griezmann, also helped lead his country and club to titles in 2018. The PSG winger scored 17 goals in his first season with the French giants, leading them to yet another LIgue 1 title. He scored four goals in the World Cup, and became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele, one the greatest players of all time, scored against Sweden in 1958 when he was just 17 years old.

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Witters Sport-USA TODAY SportsWitters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

1. Luka Modric

Having already won the FIFA award for men’s best player back in September, the Real Madrid and Croatian midfielder seems to be the favorite to take the Ballon d’Or away from Messi and Ronaldo. Modric led his low-talent Croatian squad all the way to the World Cup finals, which by itself is very impressive. He won the Golden Ball (best player) award for the 2018 World Cup as well. Not only did he help Croatia, he also helped lead Real Madrid to their third consecutive Champions League trophy.