As per a report from journalist Mootaz Chehade, the 3 players set to be named on this year’s Ballon D’Or shortlist are Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and Luka Modric.
The Ballon D’Or this year will be awarded to a player who plays in Madrid, either Griezmann, Varane or Modric. Next week France Football’s team will travel to the Spanish capital to make the usual photo with the prize that should be on the cover of the magazine.
— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) November 19, 2018
As such, let’s delve into the reasons behind why each of the Madrid-based trio would make a worthy winner.
Griezmann the difference-maker
The most-obvious reason behind Antoine Griezmann’s inclusion as a Ballon D’Or finalist would be the key role played by the gifted attacker in France’s World Cup triumph this past summer.
Griezmann contributed directly to 6 goals over the course of his 7 appearances for Les Bleus, including a crucial penalty to put his country back in front in the tournament’s final versus Croatia.
In addition, the 27-year-old also secured the Europa League with Atletico Madrid last season, notching a brace in the competition’s final versus Marseille.
All told, between La Liga and the Europa League, Griezmann racked up 25 goals and 11 assists.
Varane’s incredible trophy-haul
Next up on Chehade’s 3-man Ballon D’Or shortlist is Raphael Varane.
25-year-old central-defender Varane has enjoyed a historic 2018 to this point, both at club and international level.
After playing a starring role for Real Madrid en route to yet another Champions League title, the stopper formed a formidable partnership alongside Samuel Umtiti at the heart of France’s back-four at this summer’s World Cup, providing an ideal platform for Les Bleus’ rake of attacking stars to work their magic further forward.
Varane has long been widely-regarded as one of the world’s finest defenders.
Modric the leader
Last, but certainly not least on the rumoured list of Ballon D’Or finalists, is Luka Modric.
Veteran midfielder Modric has also enjoyed a stunning calendar year thus far.
Like Varane, Modric played an integral role in Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph, before also going on to enjoy one of the finest individual World Cup campaigns in recent history.
The former Tottenham man led by example for Zlatko Dalić’s Croatia in Russia, consistently dominating proceedings in the middle of the park to help guide his country to the World Cup final.
Though Croatia eventually fell to a 4-2 defeat to France in the competition’s showpiece, Modric nevertheless picked up the Golden Ball as the best player at the World Cup, a just reward for his other-worldly efforts.
Griezmann clinches glory?
In addition to Chehade’s report, a further claim on the part of Tancredi Palmeri has suggested that the winner of this year’s Ballon D’Or has already been decided, in the form of Antoine Griezmann:
— Actu Foot (@ActuFoot_) November 20, 2018
Ronaldo/Messi lose grip
If today’s rumours regarding the Ballon D’Or do turn out to be accurate, then this year’s award for the world’s best player is set to be a historic one.
This is due to the fact that the accolade has been completely dominated by two players for the last decade.
Since 2008, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only two players to have secured the Ballon D’Or.
Both have been crowned as the world’s best player 5 times.