For the first time since 1956, the Group L’Équipe, organisers of the Ballon d’Or, have confirmed that they will not be presenting the prestigious accolade this year due to the break-in world football because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead of awarding the usual four awards, the organisers will announce a ‘Dream Team’ at the official end of the season, where eleven players will be chosen by the Ballon d’Or jury.
“There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met. We believe that such a singular year cannot – and should not – be treated as an ordinary one,” said Editor-in-Chief of France Football, Pascal Ferre in an official statement.
Last season, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or while the United States’ captain Megan Rapinoe won the Ballon d’Or Feminin, an award which was introduced by the organisers in 2018. A snub in 2020 means that those who were frontrunners to get their hands on the coveted award would be greatly disappointed with the decision. Here we’ll look at those players who could have won it this year had the ceremony taken place.
LIONEL MESSI (FC BARCELONA)
The Argentine wizard had a great 2019-20 season on a personal front, registering more than 20 goals and 20 assists and becoming the first player to achieve this feat in La Liga history. The little magician is also La Liga’s top scorer of the season with 25 strikes. His 21 assists is the maximum a La Liga season has ever seen, breaking the previous record held by his former teammate Xavi. He has won the Ballon d’Or for a record six times and the chances for him making it seven was the best. He’ll surely feel hard done by following the decision.
KYLIAN MBAPPE (PARIS SAINT GERMAIN)
The French sensation had another season to remember in his short but glittering career so far. A shortened Ligue 1 season did no harm to Kylian Mbappe’s reputation. In 20 league games, the French World Cup winner netted 18 times and had seven assists to go along with this. He had a breakthrough season and would’ve definitely been up there with the favourites for this award.
ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (FC BAYERN MUNICH)
Believe it or not, Robert Lewandowski was the bookies favourite to win the 2020 Ballon d’Or award. The Pole was absolutely sensational in the Bundesliga, helping Bayern Munich to win a domestic double. He scored 34 times in just 31 matches and it’s a shame for the forward that the award was cancelled for the year.
CRISTIANO RONALDO (JUVENTUS FC)
Cristiano Ronaldo made history this season as he became the first player to score 50 plus goals in Europe’s top three leagues – Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. Additionally, he helped Juventus lift their 36th league title. In 32 matches, Ronaldo has scored 31 times alongside orchestrating six assists in the competition. Cristiano has won the Ballon d’Or five times and would’ve hoped to bridge the gap to Lionel Messi this year by lifting the award for the sixth time.
KEVIN DE BRUYNE (MANCHESTER CITY FC)
Even though Manchester City couldn’t retain the Premier League title this year, nobody can deny that Kevin De Bruyne was amongst the standout players in the English League. De Bruyne equalled Arsenal legend Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in one single Premier League campaign and also scored 13 times in the league. City have already won the Carabao Cup and are amongst the favourites to win the UEFA Champions League. De Bruyne could’ve been a real contender for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
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