Taking the Ballon d’Or away from Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi is going to take an exceptional year, but Neymar is more than capable of delivering
Neymar possesses the talent to win the Ballon d’Or, and 2018 could finally be his year. The next few months will present several challenges for the 25-year old, but at the same time, the golden opportunity for the Brazilian to finally break the dominance of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Here are five things that the Paris Saint Germain star needs to do, to edge closer towards achieving his goal:
5 – Eliminate Real Madrid from the Champions League
PSG have drawn Real Madrid in the round of 16, in what is, without a shadow of a doubt the biggest fixture in the competition so far. It may not even be a stretch to call it an early final, considering the quality of both sides.
There is perhaps no better chance for Neymar to prove that he is Ballon d’Or material, than out-performing the reigning winner Cristiano Ronaldo, and knocking Los Blancos out of the tournament.
4 – To proclaim his desire in winning it
Over the past few seasons, whenever Neymar came close to being a serious contender for the award, he downplayed his own abilities in comparison to former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi. Now that the Brazilian has left the Catalan club, he must express what he internally feels, and it’s no secret anymore that he dreams of winning the Ballon d’Or.
In case 2018 turns out to be his year, he must be confident about his chances and not make any statement that could invite the voters to rule him out.
3 – To be the best player in the Champions League
The Champions League is considered to be the most prestigious club competition in world football. In many cases, the best player in this tournament is usually crowned as the best player in the world. We can take Messi in 2012 and Cristiano Ronaldo in 2013 as an example, when Chelsea and Bayern conquered Europe, but the voters still favored who they thought was the best player, rather than a player from the title-winning side.
2 – To guide PSG to titles
Monaco shocked the whole world last season when they broke PSG’s local dominance and were crowned French champions. Reconquering the Ligue 1 title this year would have more value than it would have had in previous seasons. However, this would, by no means, be enough for the Brazilian to be considered the best. The most important trophy remains the Champions League.
1 – To win the World Cup with Brazil
Neymar could achieve everything with PSG, but no matter what he does at club level, if someone like Lionel Messi guides Argentina to gold in Russia, then the Brazilian star can forget about his Ballon d’Or hopes.
When a side like Spain 2010 or Germany 2014 win the World Cup, without relying on an outstanding forward in the category of Ronaldo, Messi or Neymar, then it is likely that the best player in the Champions League would conquer the individual awards instead. But if Neymar does guide Brazil to victory, then he would pretty much guarantee his first Ballon d’Or.