Five players who missed out due to the Ballon d'Or cancellation

While the prize for the best footballer of 2020 was announced unavailable for the 2019/20 season, who do you think would have been the top contenders for the Ballon d’Or 2020? A player is awarded the “Golden Ball” when he has significant numbers individually with some trophies to back it up.

The awarding of the Ballon d’Or has become one of the most awaited nights in the footballing calendar and every fan dreams of seeing his/her favorite player winning it as the prize is seen by players as the pinnacle of excellence in football.

Everyone has seen Ballon d’Or galore but only the people living in the 21st century have witnessed the dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who have won it 11 times between them in the last 12 years.

With the 2020 edition getting cancelled due to "lack of sufficient fair conditions", here's a look at five players who missed out on a chance to hold the famous trophy.

Thibaut Courtois

Thibaut Courtois Ballon d'Or
Credits: AS

This may be the most controversial or surprising entry but there is no way Courtois did not deserve to at least be a contender for the Ballon d’Or. In the La Liga 2019/20 season, Courtois kept 18 cleansheets in 34 games and conceded only 25 goals throughout the season in the league, the least among Europe’s top-flight.

After having a poor 2018/19 season, critics hit out at Courtois because of his form and it seemed that the Belgian may not be the one for Madrid. However, his performances have certainly kept Madrid in the Champions League and also played a huge role in winning the league this season.

The fact that there was no mention of ex-Real Madrid keeper Keylor Navas, who played a huge role in the trophies Madrid won, throughout the season, Courtois certainly passed the test with flying colors.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin de Bruyne Ballon d'Or
Credits: Getty

From the first month of the 19/20 season itself, one thing was clear and that was Kevin De Bruyne planning a strong come back after an injury-ridden 2018/19 season. De Bruyne has 11 goals and 18 assists in the league this season and he has been shining in all the ways for the Citizens.

De Bruyne also played a massive role in the Champions League face-off against Real Madrid in the last 16 where the Belgian assisted and scored a penalty to give Manchester City a marginal lead in the upcoming second leg. De Bruyne already was one of the favorites to win the Ballon d’Or this season but his presence on the fourth spot only means that there better names to come ahead.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or
Credits: Sports Illustrated

Lionel Messi is the current holder of the award and has won it six times which is a record. Every year we see a new Messi emerging, sometimes with the goals and sometimes with his playmaking techniques. The Argentine has been very instrumental in La Liga for Barcelona this season and it is only the lack of support to him that allowed the league title to slip out of their hands.

Messi scored 25 goals and set up 21 assists in La Liga this season and broke the record for most assists in a single season in La Liga. Messi also won the pichichi award for a record seventh time and also registered most goal contributions in a single season in the Spanish top-flight.

After seeing the numbers only one question arises, why third? 

Well, the reason is clear. Barcelona failed to win a single trophy this season and as mentioned above, numbers only matter when you have certain trophies to keep going in the race. Barcelona did not win any domestic trophies too and with the form the club is going through, the Catalans are certainly not the top-picks for the Champions League and that concludes a trophy-less season for the Argentine.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or
Credits: The Mirror

The selection between the top two spots may seem slightly unfair or unusual but the fact that the Serie A is yet to finish has led the Portuguese to take the number two spot. Very recently, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to score 50 goals in the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.

He also became the fastest player to score a half-century of goals in Italy’s top-flight, taking only 61 games to do so. He did it in seven fewer games than AC Milan legend Andriy Shevchenko. Ronaldo is also the current joint-Serie A goalscorer with Ciro Immobile with 30 goals.

Ronaldo is also just the third Bianconeri payer to score 30 goals in a single Serie A campaign, after Felice Borel and John Hansen. Ronaldo is also just six goals away from breaking Gonzalo Higuain’s record for most goals in a single Serie A season. (36 goals in 35 games) What is amazing about Cristiano is that he still has four games in hand.

He is also just four goals behind Robert Lewandowski to claim the “European Golden Boot,” having won five already in the past. In addition to these numbers, a Serie A title, a final loss in the Coppa Italia and a possible Champions League are the reasons he was kept above his long-time rival.

Robert Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski Ballon d'Or

The Bundesliga was finally the top-most contender for the Ballon d’Or this season with 34 goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this season. Lewandowski has dominated in Germany’s top-flight in the past too but has often failed to prove himself in European competitions.

This time his numbers were strong in the Champions League as well and Bayern Munich are considered one of the favorites for the tournament. A domestic double only adds to it and a possible treble would’ve sealed the award for the Poland striker. 

Champions League though could’ve been one of the key factors in deciding among the top three but sadly, the players can only start preparing for the 2021 Ballon d’Or.

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