Who would’ve won the Ballon d’Or in 2020?
Harry Howes | 25 August 2020
This year’s award was cancelled but you can still choose your winner
For what seemed like forever, the Ballon d’Or was very much a real-life version of Groundhog Day.
A handful of names would be thrown into the ring, weeks of debate would ensue and, inevitably, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo would take home the award. And repeat.
Up until Luka Modric broke the monopoly two years ago, either Messi or Ronaldo had won the Ballon d’Or every year since Kaka in 2007.
And when Messi returned things to normality a year ago, it looked as though the years of dominance were set to continue.
However, this year several players stepped up a gear, sparking some genuine competition to be crowned the world’s best – but we’ll always be left guessing at who would’ve come out on top after the award was cancelled last month.
Luckily, here at Coral we’re going to give out our own Ballon d’Or and we’ve drawn up a four-man shortlist, which we need your help narrowing down to one deserving winner.
Neymar can consider himself unlucky not to be chosen after shining in Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 triumph and run to the Champions League final, but a campaign halted by injury counts against him.
Similarly, several Liverpool players were in our thoughts following their spectacular Premier League season.
But we could only pick four and it’s up to you to crown our winner.
The Bayern Munich striker has every right to be furious that the award was cancelled following a remarkable campaign.
Lewandowski guided the German side to their eighth successive Bundesliga title, scoring 34 league goals in the process. Bayern also won the DFB-Pokal for a record 20th time, with their talisman scoring twice against Bayer Leverkusen in the final.
And if his domestic stats weren’t impressive enough, it was on the European stage that Lewandowski really shone this season.
The 32-year-old scored 15 goals – second only to Cristiano Ronaldo’s tally of 17 in 2013/14 – as Bayern stormed their way to the final, where they beat PSG 1-0 to win the competition for the sixth time.
Bayern were unstoppable in Europe, winning every single match including a 7-2 win at Tottenham in the group stage, as well as a stunning 8-2 triumph over Barcelona in the quarter-finals.
Lewandowski has been among Europe’s most dangerous marksman for some time now but it was perhaps only this year that he finally started to receive the plaudits he deserves.
Kevin De Bruyne
The Belgian magician has come a long way since the days he wasn’t considered good enough for Chelsea.
Eyebrows were raised when Manchester City forked out £55m to sign him from Wolfsburg five years ago, but De Bruyne has more than silenced his critics, establishing himself as one of the world’s best.
The 29-year-old took the Premier League by storm in 2017/18 but he struggled with injuries last term. This season, however, he more than made up for it, as he equalled Thierry Henry’s record of 20 assists in one season.
De Bruyne often appears to be one step ahead of his team-mates, which is saying something considering the quality on offer in Manchester City’s squad. He also equalled his best goalscoring season, netting 16 times in all competitions.
Had the Ballon d’Or taken place this year, De Bruyne would likely have been overlooked having failed to guide his side to Premier League or Champions League glory.
But on individual talent and influence alone, he’s more than worthy of a place in our four-man shortlist.
This list wouldn’t be complete without our next two options. First up is Ronaldo, who won his second Serie A title in as many years, having swapped Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018.
The Portuguese netted 28 goals in 2018/19, which wasn’t enough for some considering the impeccable standards we’ve become used to.
There were question marks about whether the 35-year-old’s powers were waning, alongside accusations that he was struggling to adapt to a different league.
So, in true Ronaldo fashion, he hit back by enjoying a spectacular season, firing home 37 goals and ending any speculation that he might be on the decline.
The Juventus star scored twice against Lyon in the Champions League last 16 but was unable to prevent his side from exiting on away goals.
And he’ll be hoping to make amends for that next term as he targets his first European Cup with the Italian side.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner completes our line-up despite experiencing his first season without a major trophy since 2014.
It was a campaign to forget for Barcelona – they crashed out of the Champions League after being humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich, having already finished five points behind Real Madrid in La Liga.
But it wasn’t for lack of trying on Messi’s part. The Argentine still managed to score 31 times in a team lacking in creativity and passion, as well as laying on an astonishing 26 assists for his team-mates.
A sour end to the season has put a dampener on Messi’s individual highlights, which included three hat-tricks in La Liga, but he remains among the world’s best performers, despite not adding to his trophy cabinet.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Messi, with reports suggesting his time at the Nou Camp could be nearing an end.
There have been whispers of a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, although his wages could cause a problem, even for a club as rich as the Cityzens.
But wherever Messi is plying his trade, he’ll undoubtedly use his influence to ensure he doesn’t experience a repeat of this season.
Cast your vote
So, there you have it, our four options for this year’s cancelled Ballon d’Or. But there can only be one winner. Head over to our poll on Twitter to have your say.
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