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WHAT IF

This is how the Ballon d’Or would have gone if Messi and Ronaldo didn’t exist

Who would win the Ballon d'Or if both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo didn't exist? That's the questions we've answered

A world without Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t bear thinking about.

But that’s exactly what we’re going to do for the next few minutes.

Everyone knows that since 2008 the superstar pairing have held a firm stranglehold over the Ballon d’Or. They came second (Messi) and third (Ronaldo) in 2007 as well.

But what if we removed Messi and Ronaldo from the history books? Who would have benefited?

2007

  • 1st – Kaka (Milan)
  • 2nd – Didier Drogba (Chelsea)
  • 3rd – Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

10

2008

  • 1st – Fernando Torres (Liverpool)
  • 2nd – Kaka (Milan)
  • 3rd – Xavi (Barcelona)

BD_2008a

10

2009

  • 1st – Xavi (Barcelona)
  • 2nd – Kaka (Real Madrid/Milan)
  • 3rd – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

BD_2008

10

2010

  • 1st – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
  • 2nd – Xavi (Barcelona)
  • 3rd – Wesley Sneijder (Inter)

Triple2010

10

2011

  • 1st – Xavi (Barcelona)
  • 2nd – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
  • 3rd – Wayne Rooney (Man United)

BD_2011

10

2012

  • 1st – Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)
  • 2nd – Xavi (Barcelona)
  • 3rd – Radamel Falcao (Atletico Madrid)

BD_2012

10

2013

  • 1st – Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich)
  • 2nd – Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG)
  • 3rd – Neymar (Barcelona/Santos)

BD_2013

10

2014

  • 1st – Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
  • 2nd – Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
  • 3rd – Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich)

BD_2014

10

2015

  • 1st – Neymar (Barcelona)
  • 2nd – Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)
  • 3rd – Luis Suarez (Barcelona)

BD_2015

10

2016

  • 1st – Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid)
  • 2nd – Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
  • 3rd – Neymar (Barcelona)

Imagine a world in which Fernando Torres was a Ballon d’Or winner. Incredible.

Also, it’s pretty clear that had Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo devoted their lives to accountancy or something equally mundane, Xavi and Iniesta would be considered the greatest players of the modern era.

Or perhaps without Messi, Xavi and Iniesta wouldn’t have got a look in at all. Or vice versa for that matter.

This is the problem with hypothetical tangents, they hurt the brain.


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