Virgil van Dijk,Lionel Messi

Ranked - Five Contenders to win the Ballon d'Or This Year

The football season in Europe has come to an end and with it comes the talk of the Ballon d'Or with many waiting in anticipation in which player would win the prestigious award. As per predictions at the moment, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk is the favourite to win the honour.

Here, we take a look at five contenders to win the Ballon d'Or.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, Cristiano Ronaldo is an outside bet to pick up a record sixth gong. The 34-year-old enjoyed an impressive debut season for Juventus, with his 21 goals in the league helping them win the Serie A title while also being named as the Serie A Player of the Season.

He remains an outside bet to win the honour though if he leads Portugal to the UEFA Nations League trophy, Ronaldo might just once again become a frontrunner.

4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)

Mohamed Salah showed that he is no "one season wonder" that many labeled him at the start of the season, with the Egyptian going on to score 27 goals in all competitions as Liverpool won their sixth Champions League title.

The Egyptian is one of the contenders to win his first Ballon d'Or though it looks highly unlikely that he will pick up the honour this year.

3. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Sadio Mane continued his brilliant form for Liverpool last season and was arguably their greatest attacking threat as seen by his 26 goals in all competitions, which culminated in Champions League triumph.

The 27-year-old certainly has an outside chance of winning the Ballon d'Or.

2. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport, Lionel Messi once again had a brilliant season for Barcelona, scoring 51 goals in just 50 games which saw him net a record sixth European Golden Shoe.

There is no doubt that he is one of the favourites to pick up a record sixth Ballon d'Or award, though Barcelona's failure in Europe might just go against him.

1. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

The bookies favourite to win the Ballon d'Or and in the process become the first defender since  Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 to get the honour, Virgil van Dijk has had a brilliant season for Liverpool and is the primarily reason that they have been one of the best outfits in defence.

The Dutchman would certainly want to end his season on a high by leading Netherlands to the UEFA Nations League trophy.