5) Cristiano Ronaldo
The Portuguese’s blockbuster move to Juve raised many eyebrows in the summer as he decided to end his successful time with Real Madrid. But that doesn’t mean that Ronaldo would be willing to compromise with winning the individual honours at Juve. He found it a little hard to get on the scoresheet for the Bianconeri but with the barrier now passed through, the expectation is that goals will start flowing for the former Manchester United star. Winning the Serie A with Juve would not be an unexpected achievement as the Old Lady have won last 7 Serie A titles. It is the Champions league that matters for Juve and that is where Ronaldo would likely play a key role. If he could lead Juve to European success, he will make a strong case for winning the Best Player award in 2019.
The Spaniard has always been one of the most influential players at Real Madrid. Known for his defensive strength, Ramos has a certain knack of scoring goals at the crucial moments for Los Blancos. Like Modric so often, Ramos too is one of the unspoken heroes of club’s recent success. With no Ronaldo around to take all limelight away, the focus on individuals at Real will be better than ever. It could be a matter of time before Ramos too is lauded for his significant contribution to the club’s success.
World’s most expensive player has got to be right up there amongst the very best. And if only Neymar was not playing at the same time as Ronaldo and Messi, he could well have been the best player on the planet. But with the duo now on the wrong side of 30s or at least entering towards it, now is the time for Neymar to cement his status. Like Ronaldo, winning the domestic title just won’t get him anywhere near to winning the best player award. Like the Portuguese, Neymar has to do it in Europe. His shambolic performance against Liverpool was commensurate with PSG’s, which goes to show the reliance on the Brazilian. With his talent, he has the talent and ability and that concomitant with PSG’s ambition, might just help him get there.
- Lionel Messi
While Messi and Barca arguably didn’t step up in the Champions league last season, the club did go virtually an unbeaten season if not for the last game of the season. Perhaps it is their arch-rivals’ success which made Barca’s achievements looked exiguous. Messi though made it pellucid that the Catalans will be firing on all cylinders this time to achieve continental success. The club have some of the best players in their ranks and if those players were to just get anywhere near to their best, the Catalans could rise back to the summit of European football. Messi will once again be at the forefront of it all. Success at European level and Messi could once again win the FIFA Best player award.