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Ballon d’Or 2024: Ranking the top five favourites as of December 2023

Published at :December 13, 2023 at 12:04 AM
Modified at :December 27, 2023 at 5:33 PM
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Manav Chowdhury

Lionel Messi won the Ballon d’Or in 2023

The Ballon d’Or is widely regarded as the most prestigious individual honour in the world of football. The award is presented by the French news magazine France Football and it recognizes the best player throughout a season. With its rich heritage and revered history, this coveted award has come to represent the pinnacle of individual achievement in the beautiful game.

Every year, the world eagerly awaits the unveiling of the Ballon d’Or winner, as football’s most exceptional talents vie for the honour of being crowned the best player on the planet. Lionel Messi won the award for a record-extending eighth time last year. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the Ballon d’Or scene in recent times. However, with both veterans in their late 30s, we could have new winners starting this year.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top five favourites to win the 2024 Ballon d’Or as of December 2023:

5. Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)

A quick, modern, and versatile forward, with an eye for goal, Griezmann is capable of occupying several offensive positions in or behind the main attacking line, due to his technical skills, vision, ability to drop deep and link-up play between the forwards and midfielder. Griezmann is an accurate finisher with either foot from both inside and outside the area, and is also good in the air and accurate with his head, despite his relatively small stature.

Griezmann combines the goalscoring instincts of a number nine with the creative qualities of a 10. He relishes dropping into deeper positions to receive passes to feet before turning and advancing play with a pass, but he also advances into the penalty area and has more close-range chances than most traditional 10s. In fourteen LaLiga appearances, he has scored nine goals and provided one assist also his performance in the Champions League has been excellent, in five matches he netted four times and provided one assist.

4. Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Kylian Mbappe is firmly established as one of the best players in the world, and he has already won more trophies than most players do in their entire career. A highly skilful player, he is known for his dribbling ability, as well as his explosive acceleration, agility, quick feet, first touch, link-up play and creativity when in possession of the ball, as demonstrated by his use of elaborate feints, such as stepovers, or sudden changes of pace or direction to beat opponents in one-on-one situations.

Mbappe is not only lightning-quick across the ground, but he also shows greater speed of thought than most defenders, spotting opportunities to run in behind before his opponents, and exploiting the space he creates for himself to devastating effect. For both the national team and the club, he is a key player.

In thirteen Ligue 1 appearances, he has scored 15 goals and 2 assists to his name. He has also performed on the continental level where in five matches he scored three goals.

3. Erling Haaland (Manchester City)

Erling Haaland Manchester City Premier League Manchester City vs Young Boys Ballon d'Or
Erling Haaland finished behind Messi in 2023

Erling Haaland did everything within his power to win the 2023 Ballon d’Or. He scored more than 50 goals for Manchester City in their continental treble-winning campaign last term. However, he still stopped just short of taking home the grand prize. Suffice it to say, he was the centrepiece of this great City side as they won the treble last term. It’s now time to put his disappointment at losing out on the Ballon d’Or behind him.

Haaland has all the attributes of a complete centre-forward. He uses his sizeable frame to hold play up effectively and involve others. He has the pace and clever movement to run in behind, he can dribble and create, and he can finish with both feet and his head. For all of the many impressive aspects of his game, though, he is primarily a goalscorer and he scores them at a simply astounding rate.

As of December 2023, in fifteen Premier League matches he played he scored 14 times and also provided 4 assists. In 5 UCL matches, he scored five times and had one assist to his name.

2. Harry Kane (Bayern Munich)

Harry Kane Manchester United vs Bayern Ballon d'Or
Harry Kane has scored 22 goals for Bayern Munich

Having gone trophyless all his career, Harry Kane earned himself a great opportunity to alter his fortunes by joining Bayern Munich this summer. The English striker’s quality has never been in question but he has now finally found himself playing for one of the most successful clubs on the planet. He has been in spectacular form for Bayern Munich in the 2023-24 season and has been excellent in front of goal so far.

Kane also seems to be on a mission to give it his all to make his debut campaign in Bavaria a memorable one. He has no obvious weaknesses, scores goals of all types, is brilliant at holding the ball up, works tirelessly, creates for others, makes significant and crucial defensive contributions, and is a leader both on and off the pitch.

Netting an impressive 22 goals and delivered seven assists in just 18 appearances across all competitions this season and if he can maintain that through the season before leading a hugely talented England team to glory at Euro 2024, he can help his national team to get that trophy which they narrowly missed the last time.

1. Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid)

Without a doubt, the best footballer in the world right now, Bellingham has taken to his new surroundings at Real Madrid like no new signing since Cristiano Ronaldo. Not only is he scoring frequently, but he’s also netting hugely important goals, such as his double to win El Clasico.

He is also known for his versatility and vision. Currently, Bellingham is known for his arms-stretched, head-high and chest-out goal celebration. At the age of 20, Bellingham looks close to being a complete footballer. His technical qualities, game intelligence and leadership qualities are at par with the best in the business. 

Bellingham has thrived in an advanced role at Madrid and has been a monstrous presence for them, especially in the attacking third. He is expected to be a massive asset for England at Euro 2024 as well. He has scored 15 goals and provided four assists in 17 appearances across all competitions for Real Madrid so far this season.

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