No longer in partnership with FIFA, the prestigious Ballon d’Or will be one of two awards for the top player in all of soccer handed out this year. But given its longstanding history, and the fact that its name is just way cooler, the Ballon d’Or is by far the better of the two. On Monday, the list of 30 nominees for the most prized individual award in soccer was announced, with the usual debate surrounding who was slighted.
For most, the shortlist will be the highest honor possible, as France Football says the nominees won’t even be cut down to three finalists like in the past. That mean’s we’ll never know who was the third-best player behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
I’m kidding, but only a little. After all, Messi has won five of the past eight awards, and Ronaldo has the other three. The prevailing opinion is that the Portuguese striker will pull within one after a banner year. Not only did he score 51 goals with Real Madrid on their way to capturing the Champions League, but he also had three goals while helping Portugal to their first international title, winning Euro 2016 over the summer.
However, with the voting power handed back to journalists (rather than FIFA’s panel), there’s hope that the award won’t just be a “popularity contest,” and that stars without the same kind of international presence will have a chance to win. Could Antoine Griezmann make a charge after winning the Golden Boot in the Euro and leading Atletico Madrid to the Champions League final? Could Luis Suarez escape the shadow of his Barcelona teammates after scoring 62 goals for the club last season? Could Gareth Bale become the first Welsh player to earn the honor?
All these things are possible, but certainly some more than others. Here are our odds for who will take home the 2016 Ballon d’Or.
2016 Ballon d’Or Odds
- Cristiano Ronaldo; Real Madrid: 2/11
- Antoine Griezmann; Atletico Madrid: 12/1
- Lionel Messi; Barcelona: 12/1
- Luis Suarez; Barcelona: 16/1
- Gareth Bale; Real Madrid: 30/1
- Neymar; Barcelona: 40/1
- Dimitri Payet; West Ham United: 50/1
- Paul Pogba; Manchester United: 50/1
- Kevin De Bruyne; Manchester City: 100/1
- Andres Iniesta; Barcelona: 100/1
- Robert Lewandowski; Bayern Munich: 100/1
- Riyad Mahrez; Leicester City: 100/1
- Thomas Muller; Bayern Munich: 200/1
- Manuel Neuer; Bayern Munich: 200/1
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang; Borussia Dortmund: 300/1
- Gianluigi Buffon; Juventus: 300/1
- Diego Godin; Atletico Madrid: 500/1
- Gonzalo Higuain; Juventus: 500/1
- Koke; Atletico Madrid: 500/1
- Toni Kroos; Real Madrid: 500/1
- Sergio Aguero; Manchester City: 600/1
- Rui Patricio; Sporting Cp: 600/1
- Arturo Vidal; Bayern Munich: 750/1
- Paulo Dybala; Juventus: 750/1
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic; Manchester United: 750/1
- Hugo Lloris; Tottenham: 750/1
- Luka Modric; Real Madrid: 750/1
- Sergio Ramos; Real Madrid: 1000/1
- Pepe; Real Madrid: 1000/1
- Jamie Vardy; Leicester City: 1000/1
Photo credit: DSanchez17 (Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/].