Former Liverpool, England and Hamburg star Kevin Keegan believes we could have easily had joint FIFA Ballon d'Or winners over the past four years, such has been the inseparable class of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The ex-England and Newcastle United manager, who was named European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979 while in Germany, explained that he feels this year it's hard to look beyond the Barcelona and Real Madrid talismans. “Everyone wants you to say: 'who do you think is best?'," he said. “But I always say: 'Just think how lucky we are to have two players like this'.
“It doesn't happen very often and really they should have shared it for the last four years. You could say 'joint winners Ronaldo and Messi', because the two of them have been on a different level to everyone.”
However, if their seven-year streak of scooping the top individual prize in football does come to an end, he doesn't think the sought-after trophy will go far, tipping Barcelona pair Luis Suarez and Neymar as the only two in touching-distance. “I would like to see someone else win it, but I think Messi – it's his turn. [He and Ronaldo] keep swapping it, 'you have it one year and I'll have it the next'.
“It stays in Spain for sure as if Suarez or Neymar win it, they are the only four I can think who can honestly pick up the Ballon d'Or this year.”