Ballon d’Or 2019: Messi, Ronaldo & Van Dijk head up list of 30 nominees

The Barcelona star is head-to-head with his old foe and the new pretender, once again, for the right to be crowned best in the world

Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil van Dijk are among the 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or as they contest the crown of best player in the world.

Barcelona captain Messi is in the hunt for his sixth Ballon d’Or, having last won the accolade in 2015, and will be hoping to add it to his collection after already scooping FIFA’s The Best award in September.

Juventus forward Ronaldo, whose last Ballon d’Or triumph came in 2017, could also potentially win the award for the sixth time, while Van Dijk, if he is chosen, would become the first defender to win it since Paolo Cannavaro in 2006.

The nominees were confirmed by France Football in October and the winner of the prestigious award is set to be announced at a ceremony which takes place on December 2.

Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric broke a decade-long duopoly between Messi and Ronaldo when he won the 2018 edition, but the Croatia international has not been included in the 2019 list of nominees.

Other nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or include Liverpool stars Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who were massively influential in the Reds’ Champions League success.

Manchester City stars Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling have made the list after leading Pep Guardiola’s side’s charge for domestic glory.

Goalkeeper Alisson Becker are also nominated having starred for Liverpool and Brazil, while Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is in the running after a goal-laden campaign for the Ligue 1 champions.

The award, which is independent of FIFA since 2016, takes into account the performances of a player for the calendar year rather than the previous season.

#1 Lionel Messi | Barcelona | Argentina

Messi enjoyed another extraordinary year in Blaugrana colours as he lifted Spanish title, in addition to being crowned winner of the European Golden Shoe with his 36 goals.

#2 Cristiano Ronaldo | Juventus | Portugal

Ronaldo lifted the Serie A title and the Supercoppa Italiana in his debut season at Juventus, captaining his Portugal side to Nations League glory when they beat Netherlands in the final.

#3 Virgil van Dijk | Liverpool | Netherlands

Van Dijk had an immense second season with Liverpool, playing a crucial role as his side lifted a sixth Champions League trophy and finished second in the league.

#4 Mohamed Salah | Liverpool | Egypt

The Egypt international didn’t have quite the goalscoring campaign he enjoyed during his debut season at Anfield, but was still impressive all the same, picking up the Premier League Golden Boot in addition to scoring in the UCL final as the Reds won a sixth title.


#5 Sadio Mane | Liverpool | Senegal

Mane had an impressive third season with Liverpool where he lifted the Champions League trophy and finished as Premier League runners-up. On a personal level, he picked up the Golden Boot with 22 goals.

#6 Sergio Aguero | Manchester City | Argentina

The Argentina international had another prolific campaign with Manchester City, clinching the domestic treble in the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

#7 Frenkie de Jong | Ajax/Barcelona | Netherlands

De Jong had a breakthrough year with Ajax that earned him a move to Barcelona in January 2019, finishing the season as Eredivisie champions and Champions League semi-finalists, while also eliminating the likes of Real Madrid and Juventus in a memorable European campaign.

#8 Dusan Tadic | Ajax | Serbia

Tadic also had a monumental campaign in his first season at Ajax, netting two assists and claiming a man-of-the-match performance in the victorious 4-1 second-leg win over Real Madrid in the UCL.

#9 Hugo Lloris | Tottenham | France

The World Cup-winning France captain led his side to fourth place in the Premier League and a first Champions League final appearance for Tottenham.

#10 Kylian Mbappe | PSG | France

The France superstar and defending Kopa trophy holder scored a monumental 39 goals in 18-19, lifting the Ligue 1 title.

#11 Trent-Alexander Arnold | Liverpool | England

Alexander-Arnold won the Champions League with Liverpool and racked up 16 assists during the 18-19 season, breaking the record for the most Premier League assists by a defender in a single campaign.

#12 Donny van de Beek | Ajax | Netherlands

Van de Beek played a pivotal role as Ajax‘s attacking midfielder in their victorious Eredivisie campaign, scoring against Juventus in the second leg of the UCL quarter-final to knock out the Serie A champions.

#13 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang | Arsenal | Gabon

Aubameyang finished the Premier League season as joint-Golden Boot winner alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane on 22 goals, with Arsenal finishing the campaign fifth in the league and as Europa League finalists.

#14 Alisson | Liverpool | Brazil

Alisson had a glittering first year for Liverpool after moving to Anfield from Roma in 2018, clinching the Champions League trophy and winning the Copa America with Brazil.

#15 Matthijs de Ligt | Ajax/Juventus | Netherlands

De Ligt is another member of Ajax‘s ‘golden’ side from 2018-19, playing a crucial role in their Eredivisie success and status as UCL semi-finalists – with his abilities earning him a €75 million move to Juventus in the summer.

#16 Karim Benzema | Real Madrid | France

Despite Real Madrid underperforming by their standards – they failed to win a trophy in 2018-19 – Benzema still had an impressive season for Los Blancos, netting 30 goals in all competitions.

#17 Georginio Wijnaldum | Liverpool | Netherlands

Wijnaldum scored two crucial goals against Barcelona for Liverpool in the historic UCL semi-final tie at Anfield that allowed them to progress to the final, where they were crowned European champions.

#18 Bernardo Silva | Manchester City | Portugal

Silva starred for Pep Guardiola’s side as his team were crowned domestic treble champions, while also winning the Nations League with Portugal.

#19 Heung-min Son | Tottenham | South Korea

Son continued his impressive form for Tottenham in 2018-19, scoring 20 goals in all competitions as the North Londoners reached their first Champions League final.

#20 Robert Lewandowski | Bayern | Poland

Lewandowski finished the campaign as the Bundesliga‘s top goalscorer with 22 goals for the fourth time, scooping the German title, DFB Pokal and DFL Supercup.

#21 Roberto Firmino | Liverpool | Brazil

Firmino has continued to play a crucial role in a Liverpool attack that involves fellow Ballon d’Or nominees Salah and Mane, scooping up the UCL with the Reds and Copa America with Brazil.

#22 Antoine Griezmann | Atletico Madrid/Barcelona | France

Griezmann scored 21 goals in all competitions as Atletico Madrid finished in second place in La Liga and the UCL round of 16, which led him to complete a €120m move to rivals Barcelona.

#23 Kevin De Bruyne | Manchester City | Belgium

Despite an injury-ravaged season with Man City, the midfielder still played a pivotal role in his side’s domestic treble success.

#24 Riyad Mahrez | Manchester City | Algeria

Mahrez had a hugely successful year in which he won the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with Algeria in addition to the domestic treble with Manchester City.

#25 Kalidou Koulibaly | Napoli | Senegal

Koulibali remained a colossal force in defense, reaching the AFCON final with Senegal and second place in Serie A with Napoli.

#26 Eden Hazard | Chelsea/Real Madrid | Belgium

Hazard cemented himself as Chelsea’s star player, lifting the Europa League title with the Blues and earning himself a €100m move to Real Madrid.

#27 Raheem Sterling | Manchester City | England

The young England winger seems to be improving with every season at the Etihad and 2018-19 proved no exception as he scored 25 goals and won the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

#28 Joao Felix | Benfica/Atletico Madrid | Portugal

The young Portugal international completed a €120m move to Atletico Madrid after impressing hugely with Benfica, following a season where he scored 20 goals and won the Primeira Liga.

#29 Marquinhos | PSG | Brazil

The defender enjoyed another formidable campaign as he won Ligue 1 with PSG and the Copa America with Brazil.

#30 Marc-Andre ter Stegen | Barcelona | Germany

Ter Stegen lifted the Liga trophy with Barcelona as the club’s first-choice shot-stopper.

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