The Ronaldo and Messi era is finally getting over for us.
Their near total dominance of the Ballon d’Or, which they won for ten straight years between 2008 and 2017, as well as twelve of the thirteen times it was given in the following fourteen years, has served as a defining characteristic of their brilliant era.
During this time, Cristiano Ronaldo won it five times and Lionel Messi seven times. Luka Modric was the only player to crash their celebration in 2018, when either of the two would have still been deserving victors.
That year, when it appeared that the award’s voters were motivated by a desire to give it to someone else, Ronaldo came in second place to Modric and Messi came in fifth.
Since then, Messi has won it twice: in 2019 and generously in 2021. The competition was postponed in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Even in 2007, Messi came in third behind the winner Kaka, who for the following ten years became a question: “Who was the last player to win the Ballon d’Or before Messi and Ronaldo?” Ronaldo finished as runner-up.
It means that unbelievably, in 2022, neither Ronaldo nor Messi will be in the running for the prize for the first time in sixteen years.
At the award presentation in Paris on Monday, there can only be one legitimate contender for the title of best player in the world: Karim Benzema.
The Frenchman has competed over the entire Messi and Ronaldo period, but has never even placed in the final three, so this year is definitely going to be his.