For the tenth season running, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo go head to head for the most coveted individual prize in modern day football. In each of those years, they’ve gone up against different opponents who’d always end up third place, but for the second year running it’s Neymar who is poised to dispatch then from a throne they seem to have colonized.

Asides individual statistics, especially goals and assists, trophies won during the last campaign come to play a lot in deciding who ends up with the crown. The champions league title most importantly has been major criteria in the past few years between Messi and Ronaldo, with the winner of the most prestigious club trophy usually decorated ballon d’Or winner, one who has seen Ronaldo outwit his counterpart for two seasons in a row.

Messi On The Rise

Messi, on the other hand, had endured a dreadful campaign with Barcelona, surrendering their la Liga crown to Madrid, and being dumped out of the champions league by an emphatic Juve. They, however, took consolation in winning the Copa del Rey. Messi had shone though, clinching the pichichi with 37 goals and also coming second to Cristiano with 11 goals in the champions league. His blistering form in the early hours of this season could also sway things in his favor. The argentine has scored 9goals in 6 league games and 14goals in all competitions already, more than any other player in Europe’s top 5 leagues.