Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or domination will come to an end one day – it could even take place this year.
Let’s rank the Argentine’s five possible successors from the least to the most likely.
5. Erling Haaland
The Norwegian’s goalscoring stats with Borussia Dortmund are truly exceptional. However, he definitely needs to move to a bigger team to compete for the prize.
Haaland is being linked with both Barcelona and Real Madrid. Taking this big step would possibly mean receiving a huge boost to the Ballon d’Or chances.
What he needs to improve is his injury record: the 21-year-old has picked up 7 injuries since the beginning of the 2020/21 season.
4. Karim Benzema
With 24 goals and 9 assists, the Frenchman is among the players with the most goal contributions this term.
Real Madrid seem heavily dependent on the superstar striker. If he keeps it up and doesn’t get injured too often (this has become a problem lately), he will be good enough to challenge others for the prestigious award.
Benzema’s chances of winning the 2022 World Cup with France are quite high: if he claims the trophy and contributes to the glory, this will be a story to remember.
3. Mohamed Salah
The Egyptian king is 29 and he seems to have found the form of his life lately.
The problem is that he has squandered the chance to win the Africa Cup of Nations, also missing a few Premier League fixtures while away on international duty.
Liverpool don’t seem to be the clear-cut Champions League favorites but they are arguably the only side that could create competition for Manchester City in the Premier League.
If Salah remains individually brilliant until December, he will be in contention to win the cherished prize.
2. Robert Lewandowski
This man shows no signs of stopping. 35 goals, 3 assists in just 29 appearances for Bayern Munich this season.
The Ballon d’Or voters would possibly like the Polish striker to finally claim the award following the last year’s upset. Given Messi’s dip in form, he has the chance of winning it in 2022 already.
The only problem is that Poland would barely surprise everyone at the World Cup while there are probably better sides than Bayern Munich in the Champions League (Manchester City – who says no?).
1. Kylian Mbappe
Mbappe is surely going to become one of the standout performers for years to come.
This season already, the Frenchman has bagged an impressive 20 goals and recorded 16 assists. And this while Paris Saint-Germain are still in the Champions League and Ligue 1 race.
The 23-year-old could potentially claim three big trophies this year: the UCL trophy, the domestic title and the World Cup. All this makes him a proper Ballon d’Or contender.
❓ Who do you think will claim the prize after Messi and why?