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22nd Nov 2018

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo look set to miss out on Ballon d’Or top three

Simon Lloyd

The times they are a changin’. Maybe.

Be honest, it was all getting a bit boring, wasn’t it? Lionel Messi one year, Cristiano Ronaldo the next; then maybe Messi for two years running, then Ronaldo for a couple of years after that. Year after year, for what seemed like it would be for the rest of time, the Ballon d’Or would be won by one of those two.

Now though, it seems this year will mark the first time since 2007 that neither player wins the award. We always knew they were overrated*.

Luka Modric’s role in Real Madrid’s latest Champions League win and Croatia’s run to the final of the World Cup in Russia appear to have made him strong favourite for this award. Having also won the Golden Ball in Russia and FIFA’s imaginatively named ‘The Best’ Award (an award for the best player) in recent months, plenty of reports have him down as a near certainty to end the 11-year wait for someone not called Messi or Ronaldo to win it.

Worse still for Ronaldo and Messi are the whispers that both of them have missed out on the Ballon d’Or’s top three.

Tuttosport say that another Real player, Raphael Varane will also make the podium in second place, with his international teammate, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe completing the trio. This also supports a ‘leaked’ video from L’Equipe which did the rounds earlier in the week, which also showed the same three players as potential winners of the award.

Although it may turn out that the report isn’t accurate, we won’t have too long to wait. The ceremony for this year’s Ballon d’Or takes place in Paris on December 3.

*If you really like Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, please don’t take that literally. We can’t be doing with the angry tweets.