Messi and Ronaldo are undoubtedly the two greatest football players in European football. They share eleven Ballon d’Or awards. But it is interesting who would win the golden balls if neither of them were in the football world.
2015 – Neymar
2015 was another year of triplets for Barcelona, and after Messi, the best player of the team was Neymar. In the Spanish Cup, Neymar scored 2 goals against each: the Elche, Atletico, and Villarreal. In the final, he also found Bilbao’s net.
Neymar scored 22 goals and nine assists in La Liga, including goals against Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
In the Champions League, Neymar has scored five goals against PSG, three goals in the semi-finals against Bayern Munich and one goal in the final against Juventus.
After Messi and Ronaldo, the Brazilian star had the most votes that year.
2016 – Griezmann
In 2016, Griezmann was the clear leader of Atletico Madrid, and the French national team and both teams reached the finals of the most important tournaments. Antoine had the only problem this year, named Cristiano Ronaldo, who defeated all the French in the final.
In the club season, Griezmann scored the winning goal at the Bernabeu. He also scored four goals against Galatasaray, a double in the quarterfinals against Barcelona in the quarterfinals, and a crucial goal against Bayern Munich in the Alliance Arena.
Griezmann became the top scorer at the European Championships, scoring one goal each for Iceland and Albania, while Germany and Ireland scored doubles. After Messi and Ronaldo, he had the most votes.
2017 – Neymar
In the 2016/17 season, Neymar, along with Lionel Messi, became Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, with the Brazilian scoring 20 goals and 27 assists. Still, the only title was Copa del Rey – where Neymar scored a goal and an assist in the final.
In the Champions League, the Brazilian became the main creator of 5 assists and 1 goal against Celtic, a goal and an assist against Manchester City, and then one of the best matches in the history of Barcelona and one of the best Comebacks in the history of the Champions League. After Messi and Ronaldo, he was the best player in the world this year.
2019 – Van Dijk
In 2019, Van Dijk was the best defender in the world, with the team scoring 97 points in the PL and winning the Champions League title. But before winning the Ballon d’Or, he lost just 7 votes.
Van Dijk has been named the best player in the Premier League this season, the best player in the UEFA season, and the best defender in the League of Nations season.
He has also been named in the Premier League, Champions League, UEFA, FIFA and IFFHS teams of the season. But he has yet to win the Ballon d’Or.