The last 11 years have been era-defining for the game of football. Throughout its history, the sport has been famous for its competitions, with honors and titles being shared between more players and teams than any other sport.
This has particularly been the case with the game’s most prestigious individual award — the FIFA Ballon d’Or. Since its inception in 1956, the award has seen 45 different recipients with only a handful of players being able to retain it for a second year running.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s first award in 2008 signaled the end of this trend, as he and Lionel Messi have gone on to win 10 of the last 11 awards, sharing them at five apiece. In addition to 2008, Ronaldo won the prize in 2013, 2014, 2016, and 2017. Messi’s awards came with four consecutive triumphs between 2009 & 2012, with another triumph in 2015.
With both players currently tied on five awards each and entering the twilight of their respective careers, one of the football’s hottest topics remains who will get the last laugh by lifting Ballon d’Or for the sixth time.
As seen in the infographic below by Betting Sites, both players have incredible goal records, and the winner of the sixth award might just come down to trophies rather than goals.
Ronaldo’s recent move from Real Madrid to Juventus has seen him as the favorite to go one-up over his rival. He joined Juventus with two Champions League finals in the last four years, and pundits consider Ronaldo’s finishing prowess as the thing that may just get Juventus a long-awaited third Champions League title. This could definitely bring him another Ballon d’Or trophy.
Messi, on the other hand, might find it a little more difficult to win another award due to Barcelona’s overall decline in recent years. There has also been a hint of an individual decline for the Argentine, with just a single Ballon d’Or triumph in six years.
Barcelona as a club is also failing to hit the lofty heights of the Pep Guardiola era and may find it challenging to soon lift Europe’s premier club competition trophy.
A Champions League triumph for either player seems the most likely route to another award. The international careers of both players seem up in the air at the moment, following unsuccessful World Cup campaigns. This is why domestic exploits remain their most likely route to a sixth Ballon d’Or.
Check out the infographic below for more comparisons between Messi and Ronaldo.