Messi, Ronaldo out of race for Ballon d'Or for 2nd year running as 3 Liverpool stars top list
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The 2019 Ballon d'Or could produce another winner without Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo.

Luka Modric scooped the award in 2018 after he played a major role with Real Madrid who won the Champions League last season and Croatia who finished as runners-up in last summer's World Cup.

According to French news media outlet France Football, credit is given to a player's performance at end of that year's closing season, than the beginning with good reasons.

Though the entire year is taken more into consideration but players are much more likely to collect the award if they have won a major trophy going into the summer.

Ronaldo has benefited the most from this indicator when he won the Champions League with Real Madrid in three successive years.

But the 2018-19 season's favourite Messi, will not be involved in the Champions League final after his side failed to go past the last hurdle into the finals.

The Argentine has had a stand-out season than any other player which gives him the edge over other players but his absence in the elite competition finals could change that.

And since this season's winner would be either Liverpool or Tottenham, the Ballon d'Or could be taken home by a player of either Premier League sides.

Messi will still be favourite if Barca completes the double in Spain but it appears that a trio of Liverpool stars could be his biggest rivals.

Betting aggregator Oddschecker, have ranked three members of Liverpool's squad members likely to become Ballon d'Or winner, ahead of Ronaldo and Messi.

Drawing on the odds from leading UK bookmakers, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are all in the top five.

Check out the full set of leading contenders down below:

1. Lionel Messi - 1/2

2. Virgil van Dijk - 7/4

3. Sadio Mane - 16/1

3. Mohamed Salah - 16/1

5. Kylian Mbappe - 20/1

6. Cristiano Ronaldo - 25/1

6. Raheem Sterling - 25/1

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