World Cup year a monster boost to Neymar’s Ballon d’Or odds
Given that Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have occupied the top two places in the final Ballon d’Or result in each of the last three years, it is no surprise that they are favourites to be awarded the accolade in 2014.
However, given that this is a World Cup year, there is an increased possibility of the award going elsewhere. After all, of the last eight winners in a World Cup year, five have represented the tournament winners.
With Brazil favourites to win the 2014 World Cup on home soil, it may be a Brazilian that is best equipped to challenge the regular favourites, with Neymar the logical candidate.
Neymar is 10/1 to win the 2014 Ballon d’Or, with Messi the 13/10 favourite and Ronaldo 5/2 to pick up the accolade for the second year in succession.
2014 hasn’t started the best for Neymar, having failed to kick a ball for the best part of three weeks because of an ankle problem and details surrounding him joining Barcelona from Santos causing former president Sandro Rosell to resign.
2013 ended much better for Neymar, with five goals across his final two appearances in the calendar year and with Messi also returning to action, his on-pitch performances may be inclined to improve further.
It is certainly a surprise that Neymar and Messi have only been fit to start together in 12 of Barcelona’s 34 games this season.
Franck Ribery discovered at the last Ballon d’Or that fully stocking a trophy cabinet alone is not enough to win the award, as he could still only finish third despite landing the treble of the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.
But if Neymar can win a few trophies with Barcelona, score a few goals in a Brazil World Cup win and start next season at the Nou Camp promisingly, it is a real possibility that he could go two better than Ribery.
Other bets to consider are therefore the 3/1 that Brazil win the World Cup and 14/1 that Neymar is the tournament’s top scorer.