Liverpool‘s Champions League triumph has made a few of their key players contenders for the Ballon d’Or.
While Lionel Messi leads the race for the award, Liverpool‘s squad are being mentioned in the debate after their 2-0 win over Tottenham in Saturday’s final in Madrid.
“I think the Ballon d’Or winner has to play in the Champions League final, no matter what,” Sergio Aguero said after winning his fourth Premier League title in May.
This theory ruled out Messi for the prize, leading Aguero to come out and clarify his comments afterwards.
Man of the Match in the Champions League final, Virgil van Dijk could celebrate another title next week as the Netherlands compete in the UEFA Nations League finals.
“I think Messi is the best player in the world. He should win the Ballon d’Or,” Van Dijk said after the game at the Wanda Metropolitano.
“He is the best in the world, whether he’s in the final or not.”
It’s rare for a defender to win the Ballon d’Or – Fabio Cannavaro was the last one to do so in 2006 after he’d won the World Cup with Italy.
Joining Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the attacking candidates are Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
Zinedine Zidane is a fan of Mane, who has scored 26 goals in 50 matches for Liverpool this season. He played a key role in the Reds’ Champions League victory despite not scoring in the final. He was the one that forced the early penalty when Moussa Sissoko was adjudged to have blocked his pass with his arm.
As for Salah, his displays improved as the campaign went on. The forward scored 27 times in all competitions during the season, including the first from the penalty spot in Madrid. He will also play for Egypt at the African Cup of Nations this summer.
While Messi is still the favourite to win the Ballon d’Or, the ‘Champions League effect’ could certainly propel these three Liverpool players into contention.