The race to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or was probably decided this summer with the Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016 both taking place.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have shared the award for the past eight years, appeared in the tournaments but with vastly contrasting fortunes. Both made the final, but that was about as much as the two superstars had in common.
While Ronaldo won Euro 2016 with Portugal, Messi suffered heartache with Argentina. The Barcelona man announced his international retirement after the Albiceleste lost to Chile in a shootout, with Messi missing Argentina’s first penalty.
Then Messi, 29, suffered further embarrassment when he was handed a 21-month suspended prison sentence for tax fraud.
So it’s no surprise that his number one rival for the past decade is the favourite to win a fourth Ballon d’Or trophy at next year’s ceremony.