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11th Nov 2018

Neither Lionel Messi nor Cristiano Ronaldo will finish in the top three of this year’s Ballon d’Or

World Cup years are different, and both Messi and Ronaldo's failures to reach the latter stages appears to have ruled them out of the Ballon d'Or

Reuben Pinder

World Cup years are different

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both look set to miss out on podium finishes at this year’s Ballon d’Or gala.

The pair, widely regarded as the best two footballers of all time, have five Ballons d’Or each under their respective belts, but neither will take the lead on the other this year, it seems.

Normally, the award for the best individual player of a calendar year goes to a Champions League winner, maybe a double winner, but in World Cup years, the international tournament for some reason carries more weight.

That would explain why Messi and Ronaldo are not expected to make the top three this year, as Argentina and Portugal both knocked out in the round of 16 by France and Uruguay respectively.

As it goes, had they won their round of 16 matches, Argentina would have met Portugal in a quarter-final. Alas, we were not granted the pleasure of watching Messi and Ronaldo both try to drag their nations through against one another.

Ahead of them is expected to be Champions League winner and World Cup finalist Luka Modrić, Champions League winner and World Cup winner Raphael Varane, and Ligue 1 and World Cup winner Kylian Mbappé.

Half the votes have already been counted, and that is the top three, in order, right now.

Everything could change, the last wave of votes could swing it in Messi or Ronaldo’s favour, but you’d suspect not.