A year ago, Luka Modric became the first player in more than a decade to break Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s duopoly.
The latter pair remain among the heavy favourites for football’s top individual prize, but they now have Virgil van Dijk to contend with too.
Virgil van Dijk finished second and Cristiano Ronaldo third for that award. They are considered Messi’s main competition for the Ballon d’Or.
Martens placed 11th last year in the women’s edition, or Ballon d’Or Féminin, as it is called. She won the 2017 The Best FIFA Women’s Player award as well. The women’s version of the Ballon d’Or did not exist prior to 2018. She did not make an appearance in the top 12 of The Best FIFA Women’s Player this year, although interestingly, another Barcelona player – Caroline Graham Hansen – did.
Luka Modric was the winner last year to become the first person in a decade other than Messi and Ronaldo to be recognised as the world’s best player by France Football.
Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk has been heavily tipped to extend the dominant pair’s fallow period after heroics in the Premier League and Champions League.
Van Dijk was crowned Uefa Player of the Year in August, with Messi named Fifa’s The Best Men’s Player the following month. Will Ronaldo end the year empty-handed?