Having won the Ballon d’Or a record eight times, Lionel Messi certainly knows what it takes to be the best player in the world. The Argentine might be nowhere near his prime anymore but even at 36 years of age, he got his hands on the award largely thanks to his heroics in helping Argentina win the World Cup for the first time since 1986. And the icon views one Real Madrid player as a potential winner in the future.
This is surely his last Ballon d’Or though. Messi has already left European football and currently plays for Inter Miami. The next World Cup is three years away and it is uncertain whether he will continue playing till then.
So, this Ballon d’Or most probably marks the end of an era. One which saw Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo win 13 of the previous 15.
The other two winners during that period of time, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, are unlikely to win any more either. So, there is almost guaranteed to be a new Ballon d’Or winner next year. Who could that be though?
Messi names Real Madrid player as Ballon d’Or contender
"“I think we’ve seen for years there are several players who could win it. Like Haaland, Mbappé and Vinicius. There are many young players who are going to contend for the next Ballon d’Or. Lamine Yamal, who is very young and has already shown he is an important player for Barcelona, will probably fight for it soon. And more players will enter the conversation. There are always good players, I think the next little while is going to be one to look forward to watching.”"
Vinicius is certainly someone who can compete for the Ballon d’Or in the future. Of course, to win the Ballon d’Or, one has to win important trophies. There is no better place to do that than Real Madrid.
Of course, many will raise an eyebrow at the fact that Messi did not name Bellingham. But then, it remains to be seen if the Englishman can continue performing at this level. His sample size is smaller when compared to the likes of Haaland, Mbappe and Vinicius.
It is almost impossible to predict future Ballon d’Or winners to be very honest. Neymar was expected to win several while breaking through. More than a decade later, it is unlikely he will ever get his hands on one.