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It has once again come down to the ceremony of the most prestigious individual award in the history of football; the Balon d’Or award, which is given to the best player of the year. There are thousands of implausible talents in world football today.

And this year, a Liverpool brick in the center of defense, Virgil Van Dijk, who won the Uefa men’s best player award and the Uefa best defender award, has joined arguably the best players on planet Earth: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro in the race for the prestigious award. It is a tough challenge for Virgil Van Dijk as a defender. It is very rare for a defender to win the Ballon d’Or award. The last defender to do so was Fabio Cannavaro back in 2006 after lifting the FIFA World Cup with his national team, Italy, and it was not an easy challenge for the Italian to ward off forwards to claim the prize.

While Lionel Messi had a devastating month of May in which he lost the Copa Del Rey to Valencia as well as got knocked out of the Copa America by Brazil and the Uefa Champions League in an unbelievable comeback by Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who later went on to claim the trophy against fellow league side Tottenham Spurs. He only has the Spanish League (La Liga) trophy to show for his astronomical performances; which saw him become the highest goal scorer in Europe once again, thereby claiming the European Golden Shoe award.

On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo won the Italian League (Serie A) with the Old Ladies; Juventus. It was a disappointing performance according to his standards, but he won the best player of the league and also claimed the Uefa Nations League with his countryside, Portugal. Those two trophies put him in a position to contest the award. It is also good to note that Ronaldo has never come third on the Balon d’Or award list since 2008; he is either the winner or second, but that might just change this year.

But with Virgil Van Dijk claiming the Uefa Champions League trophy last season and helping his club finish second in the Barclay’s Premier League behind winners Manchester City, as well as helping his national team to the Uefa Nations League final, which they, unfortunately, lost to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, makes him a strong contender for the award.

And this makes everyone wonder and ask the question, “Will this be the end of the Ronaldo and Messi duopoly of the prestigious award?” They’ve both won it a record ten (10) times, five apiece. Although last year saw a change in that when Real Madrid’s midfield engine and one of the best midfielders in the world, Luka Modric, won the award after starring for Croatia in the World Cup and Los Blancos in the Uefa Champions League, there is still doubt over if it is indeed the beginning of the end of Messi and Ronaldo’s duopoly.

This will be the 64th Balon d’Or award in the history of the ceremony. It was first won by Sir Stanley Matthews back in 1956. The time and venue for the 2019 esteemed award ceremony are yet to be revealed.

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