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Future Ballon d'Or Winners

Updated on May 6, 2013

In this article we are about to have a look at eight current footballers who could realistically raise their game enough in the next 7 or so seasons in order to challenge Lionel Messi for the FIFA Ballon d'Or. It may depend on them changing position to a more responsible role, and as you will read it may even depend on them moving clubs in order to enhance their career and take that vital 'step-up' in to global recognition for their performances.

Mario Götze - FC Bayern München

Götze has been an excellent performer for Dortmund, the club he has been at since he was 12-year-old, over the past 3 seasons, helping Dortmund to the title in the 2011/2012 season. This has been acknowledged by Bayern München, who signed a pre-contract with him for a price of €37m, which triggered his release clause. At 20-years-old, he already has 22 caps for Germany, and he has scored 5 goals for his national side. Götze is firmly seen as a 'Wonderkid' and belief in his pacey, creative style of play has German's anticipating his future challenge to Lionel Messi and the rest of the players on this list for the Ballon d'Or.

Isco with his 'Golden Boy' trophy in 2012.
Isco with his 'Golden Boy' trophy in 2012.

Isco "Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez" - Málaga C.F.

Probably the least recognisable name on our list is this Spanish youngster who has rose to prominence this season. Still only 20 year old Isco has already earned himself a cap for the national team and has been compared to the sublime Andrés Iniesta. Much like Iniesta he has a very elusive dribbling technique and makes weaving in and out of defenders look simple. Scoring regularly domestically and in the champions league he is showing an eye for goal which can only improve with experience. A big summer move looks very likely for Isco for two main reasons. The first is his undeniable talent and consistency with each game he plays, and the second been the money troubles which Málaga are facing, look likely for them to let him leave for big returns. Manchester United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea have all been linked with the youngster and a realistic price to grab his signature looks set to be around £30 million. Isco has already won the 'Golden Boy Award' in 2012 which is given to the best young player of the year. Previously won by names such as Messi, Rooney and Fàbregas, hence this award highly respected. For all the reasons stated we believe this is why Isco has the potential to win football's top individual award.

Luis Suárez - Liverpool

Undeniably a top talent in the Barclays Premier League, and a proven goal scorer since his debut season in 2005-2006 for Uruguayan side Nacional. His never-say-die, defending from the front approach makes him a scary prospect for any opposing defender. His effortless and unpredictable dribbling style makes defenders unable and unwilling to attempt a tackle for fear of conceding a penalty. However, all of this will be overlooked for Ballon d'Or votes if he does not get a transfer to a World Class club, such as the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona, as Liverpool not partaking in the UEFA Champions League will undoubtedly not allow him to make the leap into Legendary striker status. If Luis Suárez does get a big move to one of the major European clubs, and he continues to perform and indeed improve, as he is only 26, then it may be possible for him to usurp Lionel Messi from the major individual award title for at least one season in the next 6 or 7. He is an excellent talent with the potential to get 30-40 goals per season. Another factor Luis Suárez will have to overcome, is the unpredictability of his actions, that so far in his career, have forced him to be banned for a total number of games that would constitute a season. This type of behaviour does not get you selected for the World's top individual prize.

Neymar - Santos

Already a fan's favourite around the world and speculation for a transfer to the World's giant clubs, Neymar is a household name for every football fan and YouTube fanatic. Barcelona already claim to have signed a pre-contact with the Wonderkid, and one can only believe that playing alongside the World's most gifted player and magical back-up cast could only make Neymar's chances of lifting the Ballon d'Or a whole lot greater. He, like many Brazilians of the past, plays the beautiful game with a huge smile on his face and with great samba flare and trickery. Not only has he got these attributes that make him a likeable character, but he has a keen eye for goal, and has already amassed 28 caps and 17 goals Internationally for Brazil. The international hopes of Brazil fall on his shoulders, and if he can hold the prayers of a nation on his shoulders and put in a top performance in the 2014 World Cup in his home nation, then we can only believe it is a matter of time before he makes it to the footballing stratosphere.

Jack Wilshere - Arsenal FC

Wilshere is anything but your coventional central midfielder who has good passing and finds space to receive the ball in. Of course Wilshere has these fundamental attributes in his locker, but he has so much more. In a period where Arsenal are struggling, he has shown so many times already this season that even at his young age he has the drive and commitment to take the game by the scruff of its neck. Wilshere has pace, creativity and shows why the dying art of tackling shouldn't be ousted out of the game. In his native England he became noticed in the early stages of the 2010-2011 season, however he became internationally recognised during one game against the mighty Barcelona. At the incredible age of just 19, Wilshere bascially dominated the game against arguably the two best midfielders in world football, Xavi and Iniesta. In this game he completed 93.5% of his passes with an outstanding 91% of his passes been in the final third of the pitch. Many performances like this have gained him a reputation as a top quality player and he was acredited with PFA young player of the year in the 2010-2011 season. Injuries have been a recurrant for him recently, however if he stays clear of them and Arsenal perform more on the european stage, then there is no reason why Wilshere can't take his game to the very top.

Stephan El Shaarawy - A.C. Milan

Not a superstar name, yet! but at the age of 20 he is Serie A's second top scorer at present time, making him currently the deadliest weapon for one of the World's most heralded clubs, A.C. Milan. Just like Neymar, he may only be known by some because of his radical hair styles, but he is much more than that. He has blistering pace and is becoming an accomplished finisher, the type of player that defenders dread to face. If he is allowed to run at a defender, he will either easily dribble past them, or make them give away a foul, and a subsequent possible card, and if they stand off him, he will punish with an adept finish. With 10 to 15 years ahead of him at the top level there can only be a belief that this quality youngster will rise in stature playing in the UEFA Champions League and will soon win over voters to make him a serious challenger for the crown of the Ballon d'Or.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid C.F.

Ronaldo is Messi's closest rival for the prestigious award. He probably has more chance than any others on the list to win this award sooner rather than later. He has scored a staggering 199 goals for Real Madrid in just 196 games since joining them in 2009. There are reports that he is on the verge of returning to Manchester United, the club where he came to prominence, and you have to wonder whether stepping away from La Liga and out of Messi's shadow will allow Ronaldo to flourish and finally take the crown that he is so focussed on getting.

Gareth Bale - Tottenham Hotspur FC

Gareth Bale was first recognised as a potential World Class player, when he scored a hat-trick past Inter Milan, when Spurs were trailing them 4-0 in a Champions League game and he pulled it back to 4-3, giving Inter a shock and almost forcing an amazing comeback. Ever since then he has had the potential to progress his career, however he has been inconsistent with his skill. That is, however, until this current season, where he has scored over 20 goals, and more recently, in his past 12 games, he has scored in every one, with his team winning 11 times and drawing only once, losing none. His form this season has seen him being awarded the PFA Player & Young Player of the Year Awards, and the Football Writer's Player of the Year Award. If his form continues as it is, he will have no problem in gaining votes to mount a challenge for the Ballon d'Or.

This is the original poll with the original 5 Ballon d'Or prospects. To be fair to the new additions, a new poll has been opened below.

Who will win the Ballon d'Or first?

  • 17% Isco
  • 8% Luis Suárez
  • 46% Neymar
  • 8% Jack Wilshere
  • 8% Stephan El Shaarawy
  • 13% None
24 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

Who do you think can win the Ballon d'Or first?

See results


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    • worldsoccer profile image

      Kamrul Hasan 

      4 years ago from Dhaka

      I think Neymar has a very good future. In this list he is the best one for me.

    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      5 years ago

      Yes, Messi seems like he will win it for the foreseeable future, but I'm sure these lot, and maybe some others, will be able to up there game enough to at least come in a close 2nd.

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 

      5 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      Nice list here. For me, Bale and Neymar are possibilities, but both would have to move to a bigger club for this to happen. Although if Messi continues as he has been doing, we might not have a different winner for years!

    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      5 years ago

      This list has now been updated with new additions,

      Mario Götze

      Cristiano Ronaldo

      Gareth Bale

      A new poll has also now been opened, in order to give a fair vote to the new additions.

    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      6 years ago

      Thanks alot! I agree with the Neymar comment I have watched him play a few times now on interational level where he has not performed. It would just be wrong not to include him in this article though because he clearly does have talent it just all depends on whether he makes it in Europe I suppose.

    • CyclingFitness profile image

      Liam Hallam 

      6 years ago from Nottingham UK

      I saw Neymar play at the Olympics and didn't see the fuss. Although in the game I was watching we commented that Hulk was a 'poor-man's Grant Holt' so maybe we were watching the wrong Brazil play.

      I agree that Suarez needs to move on to be successful on a higher scale although I fear he doesn't have the attributes to succeed at a club where he is not top of the order like Liverpool. He has quality but that seems very much to be confidence based.

      Isco looks to be a real top prospect for many years to come.

      Nice showcase. CF

    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      6 years ago

      thanks alot mate!

    • JBastow profile image


      6 years ago from Gateshead United Kingdom

      A great hub that I thoroughly enjoyed reading on a subject that I love eith a passion,keep up the good work!

    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      6 years ago

      thanks! Its to win by 2020, but suarez is the long shot in this article. For me its depedant on him getting a big move.

    • CCahill profile image


      6 years ago from England

      How old will Suarez be in 2020? i think Neymar is a likely one tho Isco is upcoming, Good hub, shared to Hubpages!

    • adambarker97 profile imageAUTHOR

      Adam Barker and Dean Barker 

      6 years ago

      There is no doubt he has the quality to make it to the very top!

    • ultrasoccer profile image


      6 years ago from Ukraine

      I believe in Suarez:)


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