The Ballon d’Or has been a two-horse race for as long as anyone can remember.
Well, since 2007 anyway.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, being the superhuman freaks of nature that they are, have duelled it out for the world’s top individual prize for the last nine years.
Given the Barcelona No10 is set to win the Golden Shoe having bagged 37 goals in La Liga and CR7’s goals have fired Real Madrid to a league title and Champions League final, the duopoly seems set to continue.
Although a new challenger to the throne has emerged, one of immense popularity.
We are of course referring to the legendary Gianluigi Buffon.
The veteran Italian keeper has been tipped by a number of players and pundits to compete with Messi and Ronaldo for the 2017 Ballon d’Or.
The latest endorser is none other than Gerard Pique.
Messi’s long-time team-mate Mediaset in Italy: “You must look at the trophies then Buffon has won the Scudetto, the Coppa Italia and can win the Champions League.
“He deserves it for his career and also for this season and it would be good for another goalkeeper to win it after [Lev] Yashin.”
Shakira’s worse half did remember to promote Messi’s chances of picking up the gong as well.
“Messi this year will win the Golden Shoe as top scorer and deserves the Ballon d’Or again,” he said.
They can’t both win it, Gerard!
If Juventus are victorious in the Champions League final on 3 June Buffon will have captained the Old Lady to a historic treble.
Juventus are four points ahead of Roma in Serie A with one game to play and goals from Dani Alves and Leonardo Bonucci saw them lift the Coppa Italia ahead of Lazio.
While Messi has enjoyed a sensational season from a personal perspective, Barcelona as a whole have underwhelmed.
The Catalan giants have the chance to end the season on a high with a win in the Copa del Rey final against Alaves but finishing behind Real Madrid for the first time since 2011/12 has been a bitter pill for fans to swallow.
So where’s your money: Messi, Ronaldo or Buffon?