What’s the story?
Ballon d’Or’s importance in the world of football has grown astronomically in the last decade. The coveted award – handed out by France Football – is now considered by many to be the barometer to measure the quality of an individual.
Brazilian legend and arguably the greatest footballer of all time – Pele – has given his thoughts on who could potentially end the Cristiano Ronaldo – Lionel Messi duopoly and win the Ballon d’Or in the coming years.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Spanish outlet Marca, Pele said: “Neymar has a football at his feet which is all he needs. Coutinho is a player I think we should all look at too because he is excellent for his team. No doubts at the moment though that Neymar is the one.
The 3-time World Cup winner reiterated that Coutinho can win the coveted prize, even if he doesn’t move to Barcelona. He added: “No. You don’t necessarily have to change teams all the time to prove you are good. It all depends on taking your opportunities.”
In case you didn’t know…
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has dominated the world of football in the last decade and as such have also hegemonized the Ballon d’Or.
The duo have won each of the last 9 Ballon d’Or awards, with Messi just ahead of the Portuguese, having won the award one more time.
Ronaldo – who helped Madrid do the double last season, thereby becoming the first team in the Champions League era to retain the coveted title – is odds on favourite to lift the Ballon d’Or come the end of the year and equal his arch-rival.
The heart of the matter
While Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are still head and shoulders above the rest, Brazil’s best player – Neymar – recently shocked the footballing fraternity with a world record €222m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
It is being widely reported that the Brazilian jumped ships to come out of the shadow of Messi and establish himself as the best in the world. It has also been said that one of the main motives behind Neymar’s move to Ligue 1 was to win the Ballon d’Or.
According to Pele, while Neymar is definitely Brazil’s best player, Philippe Coutinho is not far behind and should not be ruled out from winning the coveted prize, if he capitalizes on his failed move to Barcelona, and help Liverpool achieve something special.