Four 2018 FIFA World Cup stars who can dethrone Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for Ballon d'Or
Posted: 3 July 2018 Time: 19:45
With Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, KickOff.com explores the stars who could emerge as Ballon d'Or contenders.
Prior to the start of Russia 2018, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah were all cited with equal chance to win the Ballon d'Or based on their domestic and UEFA Champions League exploits.
However, all three stars have been eliminated before the quarter-final stage of the global showpiece.
Could this be a chance for a new star to emerge as a serious candidate for the coveted honour dominated by Messi and Ronaldo over the past decade?
Kevin de Bruyne:
Despite missing out on the PFA Player of the Year award to Mohamed Salah, the Belgian playmaker has replicated his incredible Premier League form in Russia with dominating displays for the quarter-finalists.
While midfielders' have long been overlooked in the award process, leading the Red Devils to their first FIFA World Cup title could create history.
Long been tipped as a future winner, the 26-year-old is entering the peak of his career and a World Cup title, along with his domestic treble with Paris Saint-Germain holds him in good stead.
Despite the criticism Neymar has received from sections of the media, the struggles PSG and The Selecao endure in his absence - highlights his enormous influence.
The Current Golden Boot leader with five goals in two games, Kane could go on to be the first Ballon d'Or winner from England since Michael Owen.
Arguably the best number nine in world football at the moment, the Three Lions skipper has everything in his locker to compete for the prestigious prize.
Maybe a bit premature at the age of 19 to add the France wonderkid into the conversation but the World Cup stage is a competition for the best.
If the teenager continues to star for Les Blues and they pick up their first title since 1998, Mbappe will be talked up as one of the elite European footballers.