Luka Modric finally took the Ballon d’Or away from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi after the football world failed to do so for 10 years. But what if only Premier League players could win the coveted award?
For a decade Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were head and shoulders above everyone when it came to the Ballon d’Or and even being the main player in a treble winning side, like Wesley Sneijder, didn’t get you the award over football’s two best players.
Over 10 years Ronaldo won the award five times, once with Manchester United and four times with Real Madrid, but remained level with his fierce rival Messi who also won five.
Finally earlier this month Luka Modric broke the duopoly with his win. But that means that players playing in La Liga have still won the last 10 editions of the award.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s win for United in 2008 was the last time a Premier League player won it and before that it was Michael Owen’s 2001 triumph.
Every year some Premier League players do get votes though so who would have won since 2008 if only players from England’s top tiers could win? Here’s the list:
2008 – Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
2009 – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)2010 – Didier Drogba (Chelsea)2011 – Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)2012 – Didier Drogba (Chelsea)2013 – Robin van Persie (Manchester United)2014 – Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid/Manchester United)2015 – Eden Hazard (Chelsea)2016 – Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City)2017 – N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
2018 – Mo Salah (Liverpool)
No surprise to see Salah top the charts in 2018. Image: PA Images
Of course Salah’s goal scoring feats helped Liverpool get into the Champions League final last season and he earned himself a surprise Golden Boot in the Premier League too.
Angel di Maria’s inclusion in 2014 is a bit of a cheat considering most of his good work was done for Real Madrid, winning the Man of the Match award in the Champions League final.
Riyad Mahrez takes his place on the list after helping Leicester City to the Premier League title and he’d have been joined by Jamie Vardy on the podium, as the forward would have finished second.
Didier Drogba would have been just the second African, after George Weah, to win the trophy and would have collected it twice.
Considering they’ve won the Premier League three times in the 10 years on the list it’s a surprise not to see any Manchester City players make an appearance.
Who will be the next Premier League player to win the award?