10 January, 2020 - 16:20

Can African player win Ballon d'Or in 2020?

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A few decades ago, only European players were eligible to win Ballon d’Or, arguably the most prestigious individual award in football. But in 1995, the rules have changed, and any footballer playing for a European club got a chance to claim the trophy.

In the same year of 1995, the legendary George Weah became the first non-European player to win the referendum traditionally held by the French magazine France Football. However, the current president of Liberia still remains the only African footballer to have ever received this trophy.

During two and a half decades after that, Africa has generated lots of talented players, who played key roles and won various titles with their European clubs and national teams. However, none of them managed to win Ballon d’Or or even to get into Top 3, even if some of them probably deserved it.

Let us take the year 2019 for example. Liverpool won the UEFA Champions League, with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah contributing a lot to success. Yet in the France Football referendum, they were ranked fourth and fifth respectively. How fair is that?
The thing is that in the last 10-12 years, the prestigious award has mostly turned into the competition between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The two great players have won 11 Ballons d’Or combined (six - Messi, five - Ronaldo), so for other players, including Africans, there was hardly a chance to squeeze in. Probably Messi was not really number one in 2019, yet the magic of his name continued to work - so Leo became the best footballer of the year once again.

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Rufus Casino can help you to make a fortune, while Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have earned huge money thanks to their brilliance on the pitch. Yet the time is taking its toll even on the greatest ones. Messi is now 32, Cristiano Ronaldo will turn 35 in February – how long will they continue to shine? Even the recent Ballon d”Or referenda have shown that their time is slowly ticking away. In 2018, Luka Modric ended the hegemony of the two which had lasted since 2008. And in 2019, Virgil van Dijk was very close to claiming the trophy, but lost just seven points to Messi.

However, huge talents like Messi and Ronaldo are not born every year, or even each decade. Already in the next years, the distribution of the biggest individual awards in football is expected to be less predictable. It means that the best African players will have their chance as well.

Of course, in the next year EURO‘2020 will decide a lot, but not necessarily - in 2004, Andriy Shevchenko was awarded Ballon d’Or even though he did not compete at the European championship. So if Salah and Mane, who are both in the prime of their careers at the age of 27, continue to play important roles at Liverpool, and their club again claim some big title, both footballers may become real contenders for Ballon d’Or. Or who knows - maybe some other African stars like Pierre-Emerick Obameyang or Riyad Mahrez will come to the fore. After all, African football is rich in footballers as well as many other things, and this betting guide to find the best sites 2020 in Kenya will help you to learn more information about the continent and its football.

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Author: Jack Burow

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