How France Football explained their 30 Ballon d’Or nominees: Salah, Messi, CR7

Quick Reads

France Football revealed their 30 nominees for the 2019 Ballon d’Or award this week – with Liverpool players dominating the shortlist.

A kindly reddit user AxLD has also translated and summarised the French publication’s reasoning for each nominee.

We also feel like it’s worth mentioning AxLD’s conclusion: “Even if you think some of those reasons are bullshit, I hope this was a fun and slightly informative read!”

Sergio Augero: “Most regular scorer in the Premier League since Thierry Henry, regularly scores over 20 goals per season and is the best active scorer in the league. Manchester City’s icon.”

Trent Alexander-Arnold: “Maybe the best right-back in the world. Exceptional crossing and counter ability. His quick corner-kick against Barca was decisive for Liverpool’s qualification.”

Alisson Becker: “Liverpool & Brazil: he won everything. Saved the Reds multiple times in the CL final. Only conceded one goal in six games in the Copa America. Voted best goalkeeper in the Premier League last season (the first non-European keeper to win this), with nine clean sheets between January and May.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: “Joint-top scorer in the Premier League (with Salah and Mane) despite playing in a team with poor attacking performance. Perfect attitude, great team player and clinical finisher.”

READ: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still being this good for Arsenal defies all logic

Karim Benzema: “Great stats despite Madrid’s poor year. Very influential, mature and responsible.”

Bernardo Silva: “The most important player of Man City’s last season, according to Guardiola. He can do it all: dribbler, playmaker, he can assist and score. Reached a new level in the more intense Premier League.”

Cristiano Ronaldo: “Almost 35 years old but still hungry, efficient and impactful. Just reached 700 career goals, best scorer in the history of the Champions League (six new goals in 2019).”

Kevin de Bruyne: “The most complete midfielder. His passing ability, sixth sense and set pieces are unmatched. Only missing a major international trophy. Fifth consecutive nomination (only behind Messi and Ronaldo).”

Frenkie de Jong: “Already a high level 6 or 8, especially when playing for a creative and offensive team like Ajax or Barca. Great at making risky passes and handling the opposing team’s pressure.”

Matthijs de Ligt: “Struggling to adapt to Juventus, however his past season proved his incredible maturity, leadership and technical ability. Scored a decisive goal against Juventus in the CL quarter-finals. Also scored his first two goals for Netherlands.”

Roberto Firmino: “Does it all up front, perfect partner for Salah and Mane. His movement, first touch, unpredictability and ability to find space make him the ideal forward. Already six goals and nine assists since June.”

READ: Roberto Firmino isn’t Liverpool’s false nine, he’s their perfect nine

Antoine Griezmann: “Not yet fully adapted to Barca, yet he is/was a true technical leader for France and Atletico, the offensive playmaker and a model team player. Fifth best scorer in Atletico’s history.”

Eden Hazard: “Madrid is still waiting for him to show up. But as Belgium’s and Chelsea’s boss, he’s been instrumental in unlocking games with his assists and goals. Irresistible in the Europa League final. Most nominations for a Belgian player ever.”

Joao Felix: “A phenomenal second striker with poise and composure. Scored a hat-trick in the Europe League quarter-finals at 18 years old.”

Kalidou Koulibaly: “Voted best defender in the Serie A last season, he is physical, explosive and quick. His forward passing and leadership are impressive. Too bad he missed the African Cup of Nations final.”

Robert Lewandowski: “Best forward in the Bundesliga, he defies the passage of time. With five goals and two assists in eight games for Poland, he almost single-handedly qualified his country for the Euros. Scored 19 goals in 16 games since August.”

Hugo Lloris: “Tottenham owes much of its CL run to his composure, reactiveness and decisiveness in key moments, for example against Dortmund or Manchester City. Fourth most capped player for France.”

Riyad Mahrez: “He’s still a wild card for Manchester City, but he offers different solutions than the other City forwards. And he was the captain and technical leader of the Algeria team that won the African Cup.”

Sadio Mane: “An exceptional year with Liverpool, he’s now a monster forward. It’s hard to pick his best quality: speed, technique, impact, duels, hard work, stamina…”

Marquinhos: “He’s the pillar of the Brazilian team and the most consistent player of PSG this year, either as a defender or defensive midfielder. Thomas Tuchel says he could become the best in the world.”

Kylian Mbappe: “There are concerns about his muscular fragility, due to his explosive and fast-paced style. He hopefully has learned from his failure against Manchester United. With 33 league goals at the end of last season, he was second only to Messi.”

READ: Nine ridiculous Kylian Mbappe stats after 22-minute hat-trick for PSG

Lionel Messi: “His last CL win was four years ago and he still couldn’t win the Copa America, but so what? He’s still a genius player. Was best scorer in the Champions League last season for the sixth time.”

Mo Salah: “Scored a decisive goal in the CL final. Less regular than in 2018, his movement and teamwork have improved nonetheless. Was joint-top scorer in the Premier League.”

Song Heung-min: “He’s the saviour of Tottenham. He can play anywhere on the front line, where his passing ability, first touch and decision making often make the difference. Like against Manchester City in the CL.”

Raheem Sterling: “The most complete English forward today. He can still improve, but Guardiola has already shaped his finishing ability and tactical intelligence. Scored three hat-tricks in 2019. Also at the forefront of the fight against racism.”

Dusan Tadic: “Essential in the offensive play of Ajax last season, as a scorer, passer, or target man. Extremely useful through his runs and pressing.”

Marc-Andre ter Stegen: “About to become Germany’s number one keeper. His passing ability makes him Barca first attacker. His reflexes and firm hands are unmatched.”

Donny van de Beek: “The perfect box-to-box midfielder, he offers strength and speed to overcome the opponent. He should be the next one to leave Ajax after De Ligt and De Jong. Played all Ajax’s CL games last season.”

Virgil van Dijk: “Player of the year in England. Unanimously the best defender thanks to his anticipation, strength, speed, efficiency in duels, aerial play and technical ability.”

Georginio Wijnaldum: “Plays at the heart of the midfield, and his runs, either forward or defensive, help stabilise the team. He can also be decisive, like against Barca, when he scored two goals after coming on as a substitute at half-time. First sub to score a brace in a CL semi-final.”

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