BALLON TOP TEN

This year’s top Ballon d’Or award stunned two giants and shocked the world. For the past ten years, the award only circulated between two figures Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but a different name dominated the list this year.

1. Luka Modric tops Ballon d’Or prize this year, ending the decade-long duopoly between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Modric helped Real Madrid obtain third successive Champions League title in May and captained Croatia to the second place in 2018 World Cup. Despite losing 4-2 to France, he was named player of the tour. The 33-year-old midfielder admitted that one his childhood dreams was to win the award.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo only went second this year right below Modric. The Portuguese forward transferred from Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid to the Serie A side Juventus in July. His transfer to the Italian team solidified the club’s position at the top of Serie tables. Before his transfer, he scored 41 times in La Liga and Champions League back-to-back, and performed one of the best goals of the year. His time in the Serie A club produced an impressive ten goals and five assists so far.

3. Antoine Griezmann was disappointed to have not earned the top place in the award after dominating the Europa League and World Cup this year. The Atlético Madrid forward was crucial in the club’s success, especially during the first leg of their semi-final tie against Arsenal. He also secured his team’s 3-0 victory over Marseille. Griezmann also beat Ballon winner Modric, during France’s World Cup match against Croatia. The French forward lamented his place in the year’s Ballon in spite of his silverware.

4. Kylian Mbappé, on the other hand, has a more positive approach than Griezmann. The PSG forward was encouraged to strive more to get to the top of the prestigious award. The 19-year-old player is a step ahead of the five-time Ballon awardee Lionel Messi. During the ceremony, Mbappe also received the Kopa Trophy. He helped PSG win another Ligue 1 title and led France to World Cup victory in Russia.

5. Lionel Messi fell to the fifth this year. While excelling in FC Barcelona, Messi is cursed with the burden of his poor performance in the World Cup. His injury was also a factor in the decline of his performance. This year’s El Clasico saw Real Madrid humiliated by Barcelona without the help of its top player. Messi, nevertheless, tallied 40 goals and 14 assists last season for Barcelona both in La Liga and Champions League. He obtained two silverwares in the Spanish Primera Division and Copa del Rey. He had more goals than Ronaldo this season, netting 15 times.

6. Mohamed Salah is the only African that broke into the top 10. In his first season at Liverpool, Salah became the highest goalscorer across 38 games in the Premier League season, netting 32 goals. He netted another ten goals for the Reds in the Champions League, marching with them to the final.

7. Raphaël Varane is raising the flag of defenders as he placed seventh in this year. Rarely did any defender take the headlines. The Real Madrid defender was one of the best in world football today. Earlier this year, he helped the Spanish club pull off a sensational hat-trick in the Champions League. The French player is also one of the reasons of his country’s success in the World Cup this year.

8. Eden Hazard played through the year with success. Although he downplayed his chances to the prestigious award after Chelsea’s poor standing in the Premier League season, he did took home a silverware with an FA Cup triumph. Hazard scored three goals and two assists in the World Cup, contributing to Belgium’s third-place finish. After the Maurizio Sarri takeover, Hazard improved his form, giving seven goals and complementing five assists across 13 Premier League games.

9. Kevin de Bruyne is one of Man City’s most important players today. He made 16 assists in the Premier League, and added eight goals to City’s record-breaking 100 points. De Bruyne also helped Belgium finish third in the World Cup with his two assists and a goal.

10. Harry Kane is probably one of the world’s most productive strikers. Over the past three years, he scored a total of 59 goals for Tottenham, and goaled eight times in 14 games this season. The English striker is also the top scorer in Russia, earning the Golden Boot after giving his country a total of six goals.

By @FitsEly

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