The sensational Frenchman once again substantiated suggestions that he was going to overtake the mantle from Ronaldo and Messi with a remarkable showing in the World Cup. The 19-year old ran riot against Argentina which was one of the defining moments of the world cup as he single-handily sliced open the defence. He also became the youngest player to score in the world cup final with a fierce goal from outside the box and was also awarded the FIFA Young player of the tournament. He also enjoyed a stellar campaign domestically with PSG scoring 21 goals and laying on a further 15. Almost every club in the world would love to have an Mbappe in their ranks and it is only daunting the prospect of Mbappe at his peak. Mbappe has a strong case having won the World Cup in the same tournament where Ronaldo and Messi failed to inspire their nations. If he doesn’t win it this year, it won’t be long before Mbappe wins the Ballon D’Or.
2) Raphael Varane
Italy’s world cup winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro was the last defender to have won the Ballon D’Or. Since then, in reality, no defender has come close to that level of success despite some top-class players playing at that level until Raphael Varane. The former Lens defender has been an integral part of Real Madrid’s prolific success in the last 5 years, winning 4 Champions league titles and a La Liga title. To cap it off, Varane won the FIFA World Cup this past summer which means that he has won just about every major honour. Only the Ballon D’Or eludes his trophy cabinet. He came second in the vote count halfway and could become the first defender since 2006 to win the Ballon D’Or.
It is laughable and startling to think that mOdric when signed by Real was voted as their worst signing. Half a decade later and Modric is now an indispensable figure at the club. Like Varane, Modric has been a core part of the Real Madrid side that has been unstoppable particularly in Europe. He finally got recognition after a masterclass World Cup where he led from the front as Croatia against all odds reached the World Cup final. He won the FIFA Best Player as well as UEFA’S Best player award ahead of Ronaldo and Messi, which makes him a strong candidate for the Ballon D’Or. His form has dipped since the beginning of the season but that is only understandable given the exploits he had during the World Cup.