For the past decade there have been two names ruling the roost in the world of soccer, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. For many, they are the two greatest ever play the game but is father time catching up with them? Is the end of their era finally over?
The Ballon d’Or
Ever since 1956 the world has been voting for who was the best player on the planet each year. Several players have won the trophy several times, but it wasn’t until 2008 that two players completely dominated the award. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were posting ridiculous numbers year on year, and there was no doubt they had taken soccer to new levels.
They spent a whole decade without competition, after regularly scoring over 40 goals a year and splitting pretty every major trophy in club football between them. They were on top of the world for many years, but time might have finally caught up with them. For the first time in a decade, there was a new name on the trophy.
Late in 2018, there were rumors that someone other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi was going to win the Ballon d’Or. Sure enough, as the votes came in the rumors were true, and the soccer world had a new king. That player was Croatian midfielder Luka Modric. He won the Champions League with Real Madrid in the summer, and a few months later led his nation to the World Cup final.
Many argued that while Modric had a very good season, there should be no one other than Messi or Ronaldo winning the Ballon d’Or. They are still miles ahead of anyone else when it comes to goals scored. After many years of Ronaldo and Messi dominance, people might have become numb to how special they are and wanted someone else to win for a change.
Some believe Ronaldo and Messi failed to win because both of their countries did poorly at the 2018 World Cup. Modric took Croatia to the final where they played, and lost against, France. Antoine Griezmann of France and Atletico Madrid was third in the voting behind Ronaldo and Modric. Perhaps next year when international football takes a backseat once again, we will see the return of Messi and Ronaldo to the top of the soccer world.
They are still unquestionably the two best players in the world, but both are in their thirties and aren’t getting any younger. Maybe now we will see the rise of new stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Neymar dominate the best player in the world award for ten years. Mbappe is just 19 years old, and the world is at his feet.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have been the best two players in the world for an entire decade, and they are two of the greatest players ever to play. Soccer fans should just be grateful they got to witness their brilliance week in week out for so long, and we can only hope their successors are half as good.