Leo Messi the Early Favorite to Win 2019 Ballon d’Or

Leo Messi the Early Favorite to Win 2019 Ballon d’Or article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Barcelona’s Leo Messi

  • Leo Messi is the +100 favorite to win the 2019 Ballon d'Or, awarded to the best footballer of the year.
  • Luka Modric was the 250-1 longshot winner in 2018, mostly due to Croatia's incredible run to the World Cup Final as well as Real Madrid's Champions League title.
  • Big names like Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar are among the favorites in 2019, but an 80-1 longshot could be worth betting on.

The Ballon d’Or is an annual award that recognizes the top footballer each calendar year. Barcelona living legend Leo Messi is the early +100 favorite to win it in 2019 after finishing fifth (!) in 2018.

Luka Modric was the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner at massive 250-1 odds, breaking a streak of ten consecutive years that Cristiano Ronaldo or Leo Messi won the award.

Here are the recent past winners:

2018 – Modric
2017 – Ronaldo
2016 – Ronaldo
2015 – Messi
2014 – Ronaldo
2013 – Ronaldo
2012 – Messi
2011 – Messi
2010 – Messi
2009 – Messi
2008 – Ronaldo
2007 – Kaka

Modric led Croatia to a 2018 World Cup Final appearance vs. France (4-2 loss) as well as a Champions League title for Real Madrid. He was also named the Most Outstanding Player at the World Cup (100-1 odds) and the best midfielder in the Champions League. He was 100% deserving of the award, and it was great to see a longshot given an opportunity to win it.

Rounding out the top-5 in 2018 were Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Messi. Each of those players are listed in the top-5 to win in 2019, except for Modric.

Here’s a look at odds to win in 2019 currently being offered as of Monday, January 28th:

Since it’s not a World Cup year,  international success won’t be as significant, but the UEFA Nations League Semifinals could be the talk of the summer. With all eyes on just four teams competing, players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane may have a slight, slight advantage. The semifinal matchups are:

Portugal vs. Switzerland (June 5, 2019)
Netherlands vs. England (June 6, 2019)

Aside from that competition, club performance will be heavily regarded. Leo Messi and Barcelona are heavy favorites to win Spain’s La Liga and they’re also second-favorites to win the Champions League title; if they’re able to lift both trophies, there’s very little doubt that Messi will be crowned the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner, and his current odds already give him a 50% chance. Since I have futures pending on Barcelona to win La Liga and Champions League, the only player I’m really eyeing for the Ballon d’Or is Leo Messi.

If there’s one longshot I’d think about, it would be Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk at 80-1 odds, especially if the Reds hold on to win the Premier League and make a deep Champions League run again. He’s been the key cog in improving their defense and is already the odds-on favorite for top English footballer of the year.

At 80-1 odds, he’s given a 1.23% probability to win, but I think his chances are a bit better than that.