The Ballon d’Or France Football, which rewards the best football player of the year, will be awarded on next November 29th and the list of the thirty potential winners was made public last Friday. If the usual ones are still here (Messi, Ronaldo and so on), a few brand new names have to be welcomed this year, in a list where Senegalese striker Sadio Mané is missing.
Africa will be represented by its two stars Algerian forward Riyad Mahrez and Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah. Both play in the English Premier League, considered as the most intensive and performant league in Europe, and they have arguments to exploit: if Mo Salah was not champion this year, he kept on with great performances and had 31 goals in 51 games last season. In the meantime, Riyad Mahrez won the league with Manchester City, grabbed the EFL Cup and reached the final of the Champions’ League against Chelsea (lost 0-1).
To be honest, none of them should win the Ballon d’Or this year, and names like Robert Lewandowski, Lionel Messi or Jorginho are often mentioned to get the supreme trophy. This being said, the ranking matters and the achievements of both players may open them the short list of ten.
In a year of Copa America and Euro, the winners of such tournaments will be particularly well positioned to get the crown. Argentina of Parisian star Leo Messi, but also Italy of fellows Jorginho, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Giorgio Chiellini, have a real chance to get this individual trophy back home: individual performances do matter but what you managed to win with your club or country is nearly more important. Take Fabio Cannavaro in 2006.
The only African player to have ever won a Ballon d’Or was George Weah in 1995 (AC Milan).