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Future Ballon d'Or Winners
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 "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
This poll is now closed to voting.