Is Messi the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or 2017?

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Lionel Messi had a terrible 2016. He lost the Ballon d’Or to Ronaldo. He lost the Champions League – again to Ronaldo and Real Madrid. Also in the summer whilst Ronaldo won the European Championships with Portugal, Messi failed at the Copa America Centenario with Argentina.

Plus of course, Ronaldo went on to win the FIFA World Player of the Year Award, the Club World Cup and so much more., For normal players what Messi achieved in 2016 would be great but this is the player who has won 5 Ballon d’Or Awards.

So, in 2017, is Messi the favorite?

The World Thinks Messi is the Favorite

Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or

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Let’s look at some opinions. Firstly – you, the Destination reader. On the poll of who will win the Ballon d’Or 2017, you have given Messi 56% vote compared to only 26% for Ronaldo. (If you haven’t already voted please vote on the right hand side menu on the web page or choose polls from the mobile menu).

Similarly, the bookmakers – the people whose livelihood depends on getting the odds correct, predict Messi will win the Ballon d’Or this year – with Messi at 2.00 compared to 2.75 for Ronaldo. (Interestingly and incredibly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is third with 6.00. He was nowhere to be seen the last time I reviewed the odds table).

Is Messi really the favorite for the Ballon d’Or 2017?

Messi 2018 Updated Edition: More Than a Superstar

As we wrote in a previous article, it all comes down to moments and trophies. The Ballon d’Or is now decided by journalists from prestigious sports and football only publications around the world. We have lost the votes from the international captains and managers. Also, the Ballon d’Or cuts across two seasons and a summer. It is very hard to get a clear understanding of who exactly the best player is.

Now, we have just examined how Neymar’s stunning performance in the incredible 6-1 victory against Paris Saint Germain in the Champion’s League Round of 16 for the first time has given us something to really remember him by and let him stand out.

The key thing is he has put Messi back in the hunt for the Champions League trophy. Surely the key element of him winning the Ballon d’Or? And there is even an outside chance of Messi winning La Liga. What a stunning El Clasico we have coming up on Sunday, 23rd April. If Barcelona win that and Messi puts in a man of the match performance he is in with a real chance.

As we have seen on the statistics between Messi and Ronaldo are really similar, and in fact Messi provides more assists than Ronaldo yet still ends up coming second.

The Ronaldo Factor

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There is the other issue of a hungry Ronaldo. He knows he has to win the Ballon d’Or this year. This way he would equal Messi’s 5 trophies. If he loses this year, it is over for him.

Ronaldo has plenty of chances – the Confederations Cup, the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, the Champions League and ahead of the pack in La Liga. The Ballon d’Or is Ronaldo’s trophy to lose rather than Messi’s to win.

Which is why the Champions League is everything. It is hard to imagine Real Madrid winning a second Champions League in a row. (It has never been done in the Champions League era). However, this is a time of incredible things – Leicester City winning the Premier League, firing their heroic manager then reaching the Quarter Finals of the Champions League. Plus the incredible 6-1 game we have already discussed.

So maybe Ronaldo can do it.

Messi Must Keep Up The Scoring

Messi, Lionel Andres - Legendary

Messi currently has 16 goals from 19 appearances for club and country compared to 10 goals from 15 appearances by Ronaldo. Also, Messi has 6 assists v 4 assists from the same number of games by each player. Their records are very similar.

Therefore it will be what they achieve and what we remember. Ronaldo was dominant throughout the 2016 European Championships tournament and we remember his passion.

It is time for Messi to step up and take his 6th Ballon d’Or trophy and finally prove he is the greatest player of all time.

Is Neymar now a serious contender for the Ballon d’Or 2017?


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Has the game of the century Barcelona 6 PSG 1 changed Neymar’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or 2017?

Let’s be serious first of all. In 2016, Neymar came in 5th position in the Ballon d’Or voting with 68 points. Nowhere near Ronaldo, the winner in 2016 and his 745 points nor Lionel Messi in second place with 316 points.

Plus, you the Destination Soccer readers don’t really believe in Neymar. 0% of you believe he will win in 2017. Messi is the current run-away favorite. The same with the bookmakers who have Neymar at 7 to 1 to win compared with 2.0 for Messi and 2.25 for Ronaldo.

(Could this be why Neymar decided to hedge his bets by appearing in the Vin Diesel movie: xXx 3: The Return of Xander Cage?)

A Life Changing Game

But then came the impossible. What no-one could ever have expected. The game of the century? Barcelona’s unbelievable 6-1 victory over Paris Saint Germain to turn around their 4-0 away deficit.

And who was the man who drove this and is widely credited with the turnaround?

It is Neymar. A phenomenal performance with a stunning free-kick, a penalty and of course, the free kick supplied to the Sergi Roberto winning goal. All in just 7 minutes and 17 seconds. He took the responsibility and as he said: “Nothing is impossible for those who believe.”

Neymar – 2017 Updated Edition: The Unstoppable Rise of Barcelona's Brazilian Superstar

For the first time, it wasn’t Messi’s name who is on everyone’s lips but Neymar.

Now if Barcelona go on to win the Champions League and even La Liga and Neymar does as well as he does here, could he actually win the Ballon d’Or? Or at the very least get into the top 3? He did come third in the 2015 Ballon d’Or but again that was with 7.86% of the votes compared with 41.33% for the victorious Lionel Messi.

Or is he doomed to be hidden in the shadows of Ronaldo and Messi? Neymar misses out on the Confederations Cup in the summer unlike Ronaldo and his main focus is World Cup Qualifiers with Brazil. (His Olympic victory in 2016 was not important to the Ballon d’Or voters).

If he wins trophies at the end of the 2016/17 season and can be a top performer at the start of the 2017/18 season, he surely has a chance to maybe, just maybe win the Ballon d’or. To be the first Brazilian to win since Kaka in 2007.

What do you think? Can he do it? Or is this just a pipe dream? And it is Messi’s time once more?

Messi v Ronaldo: Who Will Win the Ballon d’Or 2017?


Who will win the Ballon d’Or 2017?


This year – 2017 – is probably the most important year in modern times in Ballon d’Or history. It could also finally solve the age old question, who is better – Messi or Ronaldo?

Why is this? Currently, Messi holds 5 Ballon d’Or awards – the most of any player in history (yes, of course Pele was not allowed a Ballon d’Or award but that is a different story). And Ronaldo now holds 4 Ballon d’Or Awards.

So, if Messi wins this year, he will catapult into an unbeatable lead of 6-4. If Ronaldo wins again, these two will be tied for the greatest ever status.

Messi v Ronaldo: A Battle For The Ages

Messi vs. Ronaldo: The Greatest Rivalry in Football History

Has there even been such a contest in football? We have had Maradona v Pele for the greatest player ever. With both players being awarded a FIFA Award for Player of the 20th Century. However, they were playing in different eras. Both transcended the sport – Maradona and what he gave the people of Naples and Pele in how he changed the face of American soccer. Plus both are legendary figures recognized and celebrated world wide.

Messi v Ronaldo is another such rivalry. They play for the biggest teams in the world – Barcelona and Real Madrid – who themselves are caught up in the world’s biggest rivalry – El Clasico. They both fight each year for the Champions League and both also are at a world class level with their countries. Ronaldo winning Euro 2016 with Portugal whilst Messi reached two Copa America Finals and of course, the World Cup Final 2014.

Their goal scoring and assists records are off the charts. Even though they are both not technically strikers as such. The teams they play for are built around them. In particular, Messi and Barcelona and just look at Portugal and Ronaldo and how he almost guides them single-handedly to victory.

Culturally – they are also huge with Ronaldo having all kinds of clothing wear and Messi promoting all kinds of advertisements. They have completely different personalities and even styles of play. The main thing is that they have dominated soccer around the world. These two players and their intense rivalry has lifted games and also the talk of soccer. People in every country discuss these two players and who is the best is the talk of everyone from Sir Alex Ferguson to the Secret Footballer.

Ballon d’Or 2017: The Big One

Ronaldo 4 Times Ballon d?Or Winners Mug - One Size

But 2017 is the watershed year. The World Cup in 2018 is going to most likely be both player’s final chance of winning the big one. The one they have been missing. After Messi’s disastrous showing in the Champions League against Paris Saint-Germain, it looks like Ronaldo will win this year’s Ballon d’Or meaning next year – whoever wins the World Cup, will win the Ballon d’Or. And after Portugal proved they could beat the best in Europe, they could be on track for it – providing they come through a difficult qualifying situation.

We have already looked at Lionel Messi’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or 2017. And also Cristiano Ronaldo’s chances.

As we have said previously, and you, the Destination Soccer‘s have stated in the poll for who will win the Ballon d’Or 2017, there is no one other than these two players who you think will realistically win this year’s Ballon d’Or.

Will Cristiano Ronaldo win the Ballon d’Or 2017?


Ronaldo Ballon D'Or

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Finally, Cristiano Ronaldo returned to win his fourth Ballon d’Or in 2016. We know this means a lot to him. You only have to watch the superb Ronaldo Movie to know this.

There is still one issue. Ronaldo has 4 Ballon d’Or Awards but Lionel Messi has 5! And we have already looked into Messi’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or in 2017. Basically if he wins the Champions League and keeps up with his regular scoring and assists rate, he has an excellent chance of winning. In fact, as we saw in that article, the bookmakers place Messi as the strong favorite to win the Ballon d’Or this year.

What are Ronaldo’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or 2017?

Ronaldo – 2017 Updated Edition: The Obsession For Perfection

Well, first of all, his current performance in 2017 so far, is as ever, excellent. Real Madrid are on top of La Liga and should be on track to win the League. Their biggest test will most likely be El Clasico. As long as they don’t lose to Barcelona, they are most likely going to be too strong to lose the League.

Ronaldo has scored 4 goals from 6 appearances with 1 assist compared to Messi’s 8 goals in 10 games with 3 assists for club and country. 0.67 goals per game for Ronaldo versus 0.8 goals per game for Messi. Also, there is the issue with the assists. As we pointed out in the will Messi win the Ballon d’Or 2017 article, Messi consistently is ahead of Ronaldo in assists. He was ahead of Ronaldo in assists in 2016 but he still got thrashed by Ronaldo in the points awarded in the Ballon d’Or voting.

So Ronaldo is strong in the League. And it is what you have won. If you go through the previous winners of the Ballon d’or it is generally in the years, the players have won major trophies that they get given the award. Such as Fabio Cannavaro – the last defender to win the Ballon d’Or who won this in 2006 after lifting the World Cup as Captain of Italy.

The same with Matthias Sammer winning the 1996 Ballon d’Or after winning Euro 96 and excelling in that tournament for Germany.

So once more the trophies count. And above all this year, it looks like the two biggest trophies are the Champions League and the Confederations Cup.

The Champions League – Ronaldo’s potential Ballon d’Or downfall

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Biography

Ronaldo has won 2 Champions League trophies in 3 years. However there was a gap in the middle where Messi and Barcelona beat Juventus in Berlin to take the trophy. The issue is that no team has ever defended their Champions League trophy in this new era of the CL rather than the European Cup.

And Messi is on fire in the Champions League being the 2016/17 CL top scorer. And they have Paris Saint Germain to deal with whilst Ronaldo and Real Madrid have a tricky tie against high-flying Napoli in the Round of 16.

It is hugely unlikely Ronaldo will win the Champions League this year – unless he and Real Madrid can change history. So, Messi on current form and with the strength of his team they are the bookmaker favorites to win the tournament at 7/2 or 3.5 ahead of Bayern Munich at 4 and Real Madrid at 5.

As my friend predicted – the Final is likely to be Bayern Munich v Barcelona, meaning Messi has the strongest chance to win.

Ronaldo’s Secret Weapon – the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup

This leaves Ronaldo with the chance to leap ahead by winning the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup which is the tournament held ahead of the World Cup and consists of the hosts, the previous World Cup winner and the winners of each regional tournament such as Ronaldo’s Portugal, the winners of Euro 2016. However, Messi in 2016 once more failed at the penalty shoot-out stage versus Chile and so will not be at that tournament.

Germany are of course the favorites but Portugal are in second place here. If they can win the Confederations Cup and Ronaldo puts in another masterful display, he is in a stronger position to win the Ballon d’Or.

Season 2017/18 Chances

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After the summer, we get back down to La Liga and the Group Stages of the Champions League next season. The key will be being top of the League come the awards period and making sure Ronaldo keeps scoring.

The key is something which amazingly both players have done incredibly well with over the last 10 years – is avoiding long periods of time with injury. The times the players are out is short and they want to play every game including international friendlies such as the Portugal v Argentina game held in Manchester, England to capitalize on the Messi v Ronaldo feeding frenzy.

One deciding factor could be in the signings by Real Madrid over the summer. Could Zidane bring in some fresh faces who will give Ronaldo the assistance and support to keep scoring and winning? Zidane by the way has been having an incredible managerial career including the Champions League trophy and most likely the La Liga award in just 18 months in charge of his first senior posting – at Real Madrid, the biggest team in the world.

The only other threat is if someone other than Messi or Ronaldo can have such an incredible season so as to win the Ballon d’Or 2017. However, despite a superb scoring record in 2016, Luis Suarez achieved only 91 points in the voting compared to the 745 which Ronaldo achieved to win. Neymar received even less – 68 points, despite leading Brazil to Olympic Gold in the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Summary: Ronaldo will most likely be #2 in the Ballon d’Or 2017 unless he wins both La Liga and the Confederations Cup – plus keeps up his excellent goal scoring record

Ronaldo Ballon d'Or Mug - One Size

Will Lionel Messi win the Ballon d’Or 2017?


Lionel Messi Ballon d'Or

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Lionel Messi had a disappointing year in 2016 compared to what he is used to. A disappointing Champions League defeat to Athletico Madrid meant Barcelona were unable to defend their trophy. They also lost out to Real Madrid in La Liga in 2015/16. Plus, Copa America Centenario he once more lost out on penalties to Chile. At the same time Ronaldo won all three – La Liga, the Champions League and Euro 2016 – the equivalent to the Copa America.

If we look at the pure statistics for Messi and Ronaldo in 2016, the whole calendar year (as shown on, we have Messi scoring 59 goals and 31 assists in 62 appearances for club and country. Meanwhile, Ronaldo scored 55 goals and 17 assists in 57 appearances. Messi created far more goals than Ronaldo but their goal scoring rates were similar.

The difference is at country level in 2016 – Ronaldo had 13 goals in 13 games including 3 assists for Portugal, with only 8 goals in 11 games for Argentina for Messi. he did have 6 assists. Something of a pattern in 2016, Messi was able to keep scoring at a high rate but also was able to provide many more assists than Ronaldo could, even when you equalize the number of games they played.

However, even with slightly better averages, Messi was thrashed by Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or 2016 voting. Ronaldo received 745 points in the voting compared to just 316 points for Messi. Griezmann was left in the dust at 198 points.

What about Messi’s chances for winning the Ballon d’Or in 2017?

So far, at the start of February, there is a similar pattern. Messi has played 9 games for Barcelona, scoring 7 times and creating 3 goals. He is ahead of Ronaldo who has scored 4 goals and has 1 assist in 6 games. So if you averaged this out to the same number of games, Messi would be slightly ahead at this stage, especially with the assists. Based on 2016, we would expect the assists to be higher for Messi.

However, as we have also seen, just having better statistical figures does not mean you will win the Ballon d’Or. You have got to win trophies.

So, where do we stand currently?

Messi – 2017 Updated Edition: More Than a Superstar

La Liga is the current thing to consider. Real Madrid really are in the driver’s seat. After playing 19 games, they are at 46 points. Barcelona have already played 20 games meaning they are 4 points behind with 42 points. If Real Madrid win their game in hand, then they will surely be at 7 points very difficult to catch up. Barca would need to win El Clasico in Madrid to have a chance of catching up. And Sevilla are on the same number of points as Barcelona, so it is not even sure if Barcelona will finish second.

The Champions League

On Valentines Day 2017, Barcelona face a tough fixture away to Paris Saint-Germain who themselves are desperate to win this trophy. Real Madrid have a difficult but surely slightly easier tie against Napoli who no longer have the former Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Now, yes, Lionel Messi is the current top scorer in the 2016/17 Champions League before this round of matches – the Round of 16. But if they don’t at least reach the Final, that will count for nothing.

The one thing in their favor is that it is very rare for a team to reach two consecutive Champions League Finals. Only Bayern Munich have done that in recent years. But that was because of the bitter defeat at home to Chelsea driving them on. So, there is a chance that Real Madrid will not win this year. But with Pep Guardiola in charge of Manchester City and Juventus as strong as ever, nothing can be guaranteed for Barca.

However, this looks like being the best bet for Messi to win a major trophy which would put him on track for the Ballon d’Or this year.

International Games

The focus for Messi and Ronaldo this year is in making sure their countries reach the World Cup 2018 in Russia. Now, Ronaldo’s Portugal is in second place in their European Group B qualifying group. Switzerland are 3 points ahead. If Portugal do not qualify in the top position, there is the lottery of the play-offs. There is the real danger they could end up playing the Netherlands, Serbia, Spain or Italy and having to beat them over two legs to qualify.

Argentina are currently only fifth in the South America Qualifying Group. On the bright side, it did look really bad before they managed to beat Colombia at home – with Messi delivering a Captain’s performance to get the victory.

They need to make sure they are in the top 4 positions. They are only one point behind the joint 3rd and 4th place teams – Ecuador and Chile who are on 20 points each after 12 games, with Argentina on 19 points after 12 games. Even if they finished 5th, Argentina would have an easy play-off against an Oceania team (most likely New Zealand).

But, Messi and company will most likely qualify. Surely, Ronaldo’s European Champions will also be in the World Cup? Most likely but we can’t be sure.

Ronaldo’s Extra Opportunity

Ronaldo has an ace up his sleeve. The Confederations Cup 2017 to be played in the summer of 2017 in Russia. This tournament is for the host nation and the winners of the previous World Cup as well as the winners of the regional competitions – i.e. Ronaldo and Portugal but not Messi and Argentina.

If Ronaldo wins this trophy, it could put him in pole position for the Ballon d’Or. It will certainly dominate this summer’s football coverage. And be fresh in people’s minds when it comes to the next season 2017/18.

Overall – Messi’s Chances of Winning the Ballon d’Or in 2017

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Messi (as well as Ronaldo) needs to avoid injury, keep up his scoring rate especially in the Champions League and win that trophy. Make sure that Argentina qualifies for the World Cup and start the next season 2017/18 with a bang for Barcelona. All the while keeping up his incredible scoring record and assists record to make sure he wins the Ballon d’Or 2017. If he doesn’t, Ronaldo will win his fifth trophy and catch up with Messi.

Now, the bookmakers believe that Messi will win the Ballon d’Or. They have Messi at 1/1 or 2 meaning that you would get your money back and that’s it. Ronaldo is not far behind at 7/4 or 2.75. The next people Neymar and Suarez are miles behind at 8 or  around 6/1.

What do you think? Will Messi win the Ballon d’Or 2017? Please put your comments below and let’s find out.

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