Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, Lionel Messi, and even Riyad Mahrez have been tipped, and yet Liverpool icon Jamie Carragher believes that the Barcelona attacker is comfortably in pole position.
“One question has been persistent through the past few years and it has boiled down to this: Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo — whose camp are you in?” wrote the Englishman in his Daily Mail column discussing the award.
“Something Arsene Wenger said, however, sticks with me.
“Wenger said he doesn’t like these awards because some players become more interested in looking after themselves rather than concentrating on the team.
“Those comments wouldn’t apply to Messi. I’m sure he loves winning individual prizes and is very proud of his five Ballon d’Or titles but you can see he is a team player from the way he celebrates with Luis Suarez, Neymar or whoever at Barcelona.
“But Ronaldo? You get the feeling he would take more satisfaction winning the Ballon d’Or than he would get winning the Champions League.
Take last week against Athletic Club (for instance). I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw him appeal that the winner scored by Alvaro Morata — his teammate — was offside.
Some of his team-mates have tried to argue Ronaldo has been misinterpreted but look at the pictures.
“There is the difference between Messi and Ronaldo — I make no secret whose camp I am in. It is Messi every single time.”
France Football have taken back control of the trophy, which announced its 30 nominees last week, ahead of the ceremony at the end of the year.