2015 Lionel Messi
2014 Cristiano Ronaldo
2013 Cristiano Ronaldo
2012 Lionel Messi
2011 Lionel Messi
2010 Lionel Messi
2009 Lionel Messi
2008 Cristiano Ronaldo
The list above names the previous 8 winners of the Ballon D’or, which is the most commonly recognised award for the best footballer in the World. As you can see, it’s been dominated by two players who I think we all can agree have been the best two players in the world over the past decade and would probably be classed as two of the best players to ever play football.
However, 2016 has seen Ronaldo and Messi start to show their decline from the very top of the game, with injuries and a dip in form, allowing other players to step up and take their chance to become the new superstars of European and World Football. Neymar, Lewandowski, Bale, Pogba, Dybala, Hazard and Neuer are now all strong contenders to win the award in the next few years, but for me, there is one player who has been the best player in the World by some distance this year.
That player is Luis Suarez.
Yes, he bites people. Yes, he makes defenders want to snap him in half and Yes, his relationship with football’s governing body FIFA is rocky to say the least, but one thing that cannot be disputed is how integral he is to Barcelona and Uruguay at the moment.
Last season, Suarez scored 53 goals in 49 games, including 21 assists and 7 hat-tricks. Even by Messi and Ronaldo’s level, those are absolutely ridiculous statistics. He already has 7 goals and 3 assists in La Liga this year and is favourite to win the Pichichi. With 69 goals in 110 games at Liverpool and 81 goals in 110 games at Ajax before that, he’s scored goals wherever he’s gone throughout his career. 47 goals in 88 games for Uruguay also proves his class at international level.
Since he has joined Barcelona, he has been the one who runs the hardest, constantly chasing down the lost causes, he’s the one who wins the ball back and lays it on a plate for Neymar and Messi, he’s the one who spearheads the attack whilst the other two provide the flair and flicks.
For me, this is his time to win it. Whether you like him or not.