Ronaldo and Messi have operated as a duopoly with the award, or its equivalent, over the last decade. Ronaldo has taken the title in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017. Messi was the winner in the years in between – 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The FIFA best ceremony was held at the London Palladium on Monday evening and was based on performances during the traditional European season of 2016-17. Formerly the award was based upon a calendar year.
Messi and Ronaldo’s head-to-head battle for the first to 6 will be played out with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Argentina and Portugal players providing the supporting cast as the Spanish title, the UEFA Champions League and the 2018 World Cup are decided.
Lionel Messi has started the 2017-18 more impressively with 15 goals in 14 appearances. He also scored a hat-trick for Argentina in a vital World Cup qualifier against Ecuador that guaranteed Argentina’s participation at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Ronaldo has endured a stuttering start to the new season. Sent off against Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup for pushing the referee, Ronaldo had to sit out a five-game suspension. So far he has scored seven goals for Real Madrid in 10 appearances for Real Madrid.
There is an outside chance that another player such as Neymar might break the duopoly but the more likely outcome is again the others will be on the outside looking in.
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