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No Ballon d’Or for 2020: But who should win it?

Ballon d'Or 2020

(COMBO) This combination of file pictures created on September 2, 2019, shows Juventus Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo (L) as he controls the ball during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Uruguay and Portugal at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 30, 2018, Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (C) as he controls the ball during the UEFA Champions’ League group B football match Psv against FC Barcelona at Philips stadium in Eindhoven, on November 28, 2018 and Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk as he controls the ball during a pre-season friendly football match between Liverpool and Lyon on July 31, 2019 in Geneva. - The three footballers are final candidates for the best Men’s players at the Best FIFA Football Award 2019 ceremony at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on September 23, 2019. (Photo by AFP) (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND,FABRICE COFFRINI,JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

There will be no Ballon d’Or awarded in 2020 as the France Football have released a statement saying that the award for the best player on the planet will not happen for the first time since 1956.

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In a statement the outlet gave the following reason for not handing out an award for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Ballon d’Or awarded for a calendar year rather than a single-season.

“In exceptional circumstances, exceptional provisions. For the first time in its history, started in 1956, France Football will not be awarded in 2020, owing to insufficient fair conditions. As the organiser of the Ballon d’Or, the Group L’Equipe, to which France Football belongs, decided not to award the most prestigious individual trophy there is in 2020,”

Pascal Ferre, editor-in-chief of France Football, added: “For the first time since 1956, the Ballon d’Or will take a break. There will be no edition in 2020, because it turns out, after thoughtful consideration, that all the conditions are not met. We believe that such a singular year cannot - and should not - be treated as an ordinary one.

“From a sports perspective, two months (January and February), out of the 11 generally required to form an opinion and decide who should lift the trophies, represent far too little to gauge and judge, without forgetting that the other games were played - or will be played - in unordinary conditions (behind closed doors, with five replacements, Champions League played in a single game).”

So, as you can imagine, there’s been a lot of chatter about 1) why the Ballon d’Or will not be handed because in Europe, only Ligue 1 from the five top leagues didn’t finish and 2) who would win the Ballon d’Or for 2020 if it was awarded?

We’re here to answer the second question and below we rank the top 10 contenders for the Ballon d’Or based on their form in 2020.

10 - Karim Benzema

Scored huge goals to win Real Madrid the La Liga title and rolled back the years with his hold-up play and flicks. The key man in Real winning 10 of their final 11 games to seal the Spanish title and Man City will be extremely wary of him in the UCL.

9 - Josip Ilicic

A goalscoring machine for Atalanta as they’re in the last eight of the Champions League and top four of Serie A, again. Ilicic, 31, has been key to Atalanta’s incredible rise in the last few years and is finally getting the respect he deserves.

8 - Erling Haaland

The kid just scores goals. 19 years old, he did it at RB Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund but most of his big achievement came in 2019. Still, he burst onto the scene like a pipping-hot bratwurst at Dortmund in 2020 and deserves to be on this list.

7 - Sadio Mane

Like Haaland, most of his best work was done in 2019 but he still delivered huge moments in the Premier League to guide Liverpool to the title. Mane has been reliable, scored goals and scared the heck out of opposition defenses. He never lets up.

6 - Kylian Mbappe

Had eight goals and two assists in his previous six starts before the pandemic shut down soccer in France, as the 21-year-old was on fire. He will be huge for Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and had Ligue 1 not been halted, he would be higher up on this list.

5 - Robert Lewandowski

Truly sensational from a goalscoring perspective as he powered Bayern Munich to the title after the restart. Lewandowksi, 31, doesn’t appear to age and he is so reliable and had the best goalscoring of his amazing career. What a pro. He deserves to win a top award.

4 - Cristiano Ronaldo

Scoring goals for fun to lead Juventus to yet another title, Cristiano Ronaldo has been very good in 2020. You feel like he’s about to take the Champions League by the scruff of the neck too.

3 - Kevin de Bruyne

Simply sensational for Manchester City and without him they’d be lost. De Bruyne was majestic in the Santiago Bernabeu to give Man City a 2-1 lead over Real Madrid ahead of their UCL round of 16 second leg. De Bruyne’s vision, flair and dominance is just wonderful to watch.

2 - Lionel Messi

The leading goalscorer and assist-maker in La Liga, even though Barcelona finished second. Mess, 33, is playing angry and if Barca can sort out their defensive unit for the Champions League, who would bet against him to lead them to a European title?

1 - Virgil van Dijk

Okay, so he pushed Messi and Ronaldo all the way last season for the Ballon d’Or and finished runner-up to Messi but this season he’s led Liverpool’s title charge from the back and has been incredible. Van Dijk has taken on extra responsibility and with Alisson out injured and changing center back partners, he’s stood tall. A fine player, leader and proof that late bloomers can get to the very top of the game.

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