2019 Ballon d’Or – The Main Contenders for This Year’s Prize

The Ballon d’Or – otherwise known as the Golden Ball – is a football award given annually by France football to the man voted the best player in the world over the course of the last year. Some of the biggest names in world football are included on the honour’s roll for this trophy and it is fiercely contested year on year with much debate over the names included on the list of potential Ballon d’Or winners.

The Ballon d’Or briefly merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year and underwent a name change and rebranding to become the FIFA Ballon d’Or but that partnership didn’t last long, breaking off in 2016 with the separate bodies going their own ways.

The original idea for this award came from sportswriter Gabriel Hanot and was given to the player voted the best in the year by a collection of sportswriters. That panel was in place between 1956 and 2006 before we underwent a change. From 2007 it was altered to allow coaches and captains of national football teams a vote and it grew in popularity and standing as a result.

Matthews Claimed the First-Ever Award

The history books make for very interesting reading indeed and sports fans may have learned through a pub quiz or football trivial book that Stanley Matthews of Blackpool was the first winner of the Ballon d’Or, taking the prize in 1956 ahead of Alfredo Di Stefano of Real Madrid and Raymond Kopa, also of Real Madrid. Changed days in football when a Blackpool player is pushing aside the very best the La Liga giants have to offer, although no one begrudged Matthews his honour.

The second instalment of the football award saw Alfredo Di Stefano fight back to gain top spot, awarded the winner with 72 points and he crushed the opposition that year. Billy Wright of Wolves was second on 19 points before fellow Englishman Duncan Edwards in third for Man Utd on 16 points. Each of the first six places up for grabs in the opening two years were taken by an Englishman or a Spanish player.

Looking at more recent times and Luka Modric of Real Madrid was awarded champion in 2018 after collecting 753 points, leaving him head and shoulders above Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus in second on 476 points and third-placed Antoine Griezmann in third with 414 points. Modric was certainly well fancied in the Ballon d’Or betting 2018. A second-place finish 12 months ago stopped Ronaldo claiming three titles on the bounce, after winning in 2016 and 2017, beating Lionel Messi on both occasions.

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Ronaldo has Dominated in Recent Times

The overall winner’s charts shows Cristiano Ronaldo is the most successful player ever in the Ballon d’Or list with no less than five titles, earned in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and Ballon d’Or 2017. CR7 was also runner up on six occasions, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2015 and Ballon d’Or 2018.

He stands one better than Lionel Messi who has also won the trophy five times but has finished as runner up on five occasions and that’s the slight difference between the two. Messi won the Ballon d’Or for the first time in 2009 before adding to his tally in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. He was second in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, third in 2007.

We then have three players who have won this prize three times and they are Michel Platini in 1983, 1984 and 1985, Johan Cruyff 1971, 1973 and 1974, and Marco van Basten who finished on the top step in 1988, 1989 and 1992. As you would expect, given the nature of the award, the previous winners read like a who’s who of world football with all the very best names present on the table.

Germany a Surprise Leader in the Country Charts

Surprisingly, given the above stats, the winners by country list has Germany at the top. A player from Germany has won the Ballon d’Or a total of seven times with those awards split between five players. Holland sit second with seven wins from three players, Portugal also has seven wins between three players and France can then be found next in line with six wins divided between four players. Italy and five from five different men, Brazil have five from four, as do England.

When looking through the wins by club list we see Real Madrid are the most successful team with 11 wins between seven players, enough to edge them past Barcelona who has 11 wins from six players. As with everything else in this sport, there’s not an awful lot between Real Madrid and Barcelona and what we read now could change at the drop of a hat. Juventus are next in the order with eight wins by six players, an effort matched by Milan. Bayern Munich has five wins from three and Man Utd are the top-ranking British club with four from four.

Ballon d’Or 2019 Shortlist

This winter’s awards will be the 64th renewal of the Ballon d’Or and followers of the English Premier League will be all too familiar with a few names on the list. The winner will be announced on 2 December in Paris and this year’s competition promises to be the most competitive in a long time. Who will wrestle the crown worn by Luca Modric 12 months ago?

The Ballon d’Or 2019 shortlist reads as follows…

  • Sergio Aguero – Man City
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool
  • Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal
  • Allison – Liverpool
  • Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
  • Kevin de Bruyne – Man City
  • Frankie de Jong – Barcelona
  • Matthijs de Ligt – Juventus
  • Joao Felix – Atletico Madrid
  • Roberto Firmino – Liverpool
  • Antoine Griezmann – Barcelona
  • Eden Hazard – Real Madrid
  • Kalidou Koulibaly – Napoli
  • Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
  • Hugo Lloris – Tottenham
  • Riyad Mahrez – Man City
  • Sadio Mane – Liverpool
  • Marquinhos – Paris Saint-Germain
  • Kylian Mbappé – Paris Saint-Germain
  • Lionel Messi – Barcelona
  • Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus
  • Mohamed Salah – Liverpool
  • Bernardo Silva – Manchester City
  • Son Heung-min – Tottenham Hotspur
  • Raheem Sterling – Manchester City
  • Dušan Tadić – Ajax
  • Marc-André ter Stegen – Barcelona
  • Donny van de Beek – Ajax
  • Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool
  • Georginio Wijnaldum – Liverpool

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Current Betting Odds

Having run through the list above, who would be your pick as the winner? As you can imagine it is open to interpretation and debate and with no right or wrong answer at this stage it’s a conversation that will keep football fans guessing right up until the announcement has been made later this year in France.

There’s a way you can make your opinions pay, however, and that comes thanks to the great work done by major bookmakers. A selection of online betting firms – including bet365, Ladbrokes, Betfair, Unibet and 888sport – have run through the list and made available their Ballon d’Or winner betting odds. This is merely their opinion and that means there’s plenty of value to be had for those willing to work for it.

Make your selection and back your player with hard cash in the market. If you are right you could be celebrating a sizeable profit as well knowing your football knowledge is on par with the experts. Where does the smart money go and how do traders pick one player from another in what has been a fascinating year in the beautiful game?

Virgil van Dijk Nailed on Favourite

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is current favourite with all respected betting firms and although defenders aren’t known for being the star of the show there’s no doubt the big Dutchman is amongst the best in the business at the moment. It’s incredible to think he was strutting his stuff at Celtic in the Scottish Premiership not too long ago where he stood out like the future talent he was.

It’s interesting to think regulars at Parkhead were once watching a true football great line-up against the likes of St Mirren and Dundee. Virgil van Dijk has certainly gone on to bigger and better things since then and that’s much to the relief of Liverpool fans and followers of the Dutch national team.

Virgil van Dijk is red hot favourite with all bookies, but some have been more generous than others when it came to pricing him up. 4/9 is the general call in the betting ring but there are a few firms offering market best price 1/2 – including William Hill – and that’s worth noting in the Ballon d’Or betting.

There isn’t an awful lot of value around and the odds would suggest van Dijk has already won so it would be worth getting the slightly bigger price, especially if you are playing for a chunky stake. Follow our advice and get your cash on at William Hill if Virgil van Dijk strikes you as the nailed down winner of this year’s Ballon d’Or award.

The Value of Getting Market Best Price

A £50 bet on VVD at a price of 1/2 returns exactly £75, a profit of £25 on a £50 bet. Keep that in mind when doing the next calculation. The same £50 stake on Virgil van Dijk at William Hill’s odds of 4/9 pays back £72.22 which is a £22.22 profit. That means, for every £50 you bet on Virgil van Dijk winning the Ballon d’Or you’ll make an extra £2.78 profit simply by making the effort to get the market best price.

For the same bet that’s just incredible and shows why you should always check out the price comparison websites to ensure you are getting the most generous odds around. £2.78 may not seem like a lot in one hit but if you were to lose that same amount with every bet over the course of the year it would build into a sizeable loss. Put in the work needed to get the very best Ballon d’Or betting odds.

Messi Looks Great Value at 2/1

The main danger to VVD’s crown this year, at least according to the bookmakers, comes in the form of old favourite Lionel Messi who aims to return to the head of the sport he has already given so much to. The Barcelona living legend is second favourite but, once again, there’s a difference of opinion between the front runners in the sports betting industry. Most bookies offer Messi at 15/8 but there’s a little better out there if you’re willing to work for it. Get your cash down at Ladbrokes and enjoy a cracking 2/1 in the betting odds Ballon d’Or.

Now, we are well aware van Dijk has been a class act this year and helped his side to a Champions League winners medal, but most punters worth their salt won’t be able to ignore the best player in the world at odds of 2/1. That is bigger than we expected to find and the Liverpool defender is a little shorter than he probably should be, given just how talented the field is this year. We certainly wouldn’t put anyone off a bet at 2/1 on Lionel Messi winning the 2019 Ballon d’Or.

Third in line for December’s prize is Cristiano Ronaldo who carries a fabulous 12/1 price tag at Betfair in the Ballon d’Or betting 2019 market. This hasn’t been his best season yet, not by anyone’s standards, but he did prove a massive point to his doubters by moving to Juventus and continuing his devastating form. At an age when most other players are heading to America, China or going down the leagues, Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Serie A and set the heather alight, scoring some very skilful and important goals.